Snapper Grouper – Fishery Management Plan


King MackerelThe fishery management plan (FMP) for the snapper grouper resource was first implemented in 1983. Because of its mixed species nature, this fishery offers the greatest challenge for the Council to manage successfully. Initially, FMP regulations consisted of minimum sizes, gear restrictions and a provision for the designation of special management zones (SMZs). Early attempts to develop more effective management measures were thwarted by lack of data on both the resource and the fishery.  The condition of many of the species within the snapper grouper complex was, and still is, unknown.  Improved data collection (in terms of quantity and quality) has provided more management information on some of the more commercially and recreationally valuable species, but lack of basic management data on many of the species still remains the major obstacle to successful management.

See list of species in Snapper Grouper Management Complex.

Snapper grouper management is also difficult because many of these species are slow growing, late maturing and long lived, so rebuilding efforts for some species will take years to produce full recovery. Strict management measures, including prohibition of harvest in some cases, have been implemented to rebuild overfished species in the snapper grouper complex. For example, both Goliath grouper (since 1990) and Nassau grouper (since 1992) are protected from any harvest and strict limits have been implemented for speckled hind and warsaw grouper. In addition, the Council has used traditional management tools such as bag limits, size limits, trip limits, commercial quotas, and spawning season closures to help rebuild stocks. The Council also approved Amendment 14 to create a system of 8 deepwater marine protected areas to help further protect deepwater snapper grouper species and their associated habitat.

To address overcapitalization in the fishery, the Council established a program to limit effort.  Beginning in 1998, anyone wishing to enter the commercial fishery must buy two transferable vessel permits in order to qualify for a newly issued permit, thus eliminating one permit each time a new person enters the fishery. Known as the "2 for 1" program, this management measure has been effective in reducing participation in the fishery and pressure on the resource.  This program will continue until the number of permits has been reduced to an optimum level to be determined based on the long-term yield of the fishery.  In the mid-2000s, the Council explored the use of Limited Access Privilege (LAP) Programs for the snapper grouper fishery, but this management approach is not being considered at this time.  Endorsement programs for the commercial black sea bass pot fishery and commercial golden tilefish fisheries have been implemented.

The 2006 Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act includes mandates to end overfishing by providing authority to the Scientific and Statistical Committee to set Overfishing Levels (OFLs) and an Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) that can not be exceeded by managers.  The Council has met the requirements of the reauthorized Act to establish Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) and Accountability Measures (AMs) for species designated as undergoing overfishing by 2010 and for all species managed by the Council by 2011 through implementation of recent amendments to the FMP (see below).

Fishery Management Plan / Amendments

Note: Amendments are listed in reverse chronological order with the most recent amendments at the top of the table.

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 43 (in progress)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Management measures for red snapper & recreational reporting

Proposed & Final Rules

Under Development

Effective Date

Under Development

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 41 (in progress)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Update the acceptable biological catch, annual catch limit, maximum sustainable yield, minimum stock size threshold, optimum yield (OY), and revise management measures for mutton snapper.

Proposed & Final Rules

Under Development

Effective Date

Under Development

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 38 (in progress)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Expand the management boundaries for species in the snapper grouper fishery management unit. Revise management measures for blueline tilefish.

Proposed & Final Rules

Under Development

Effective Date

Under Development

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 37 (in progress)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Modify the hogfish fishery management unit; specify fishing levels for the two South Atlantic hogfish stocks;  establish a rebuilding plan for the Florida Keys/East Florida stock; establish/revised management measures for both hogfish stocks in the South Atlantic Region, such as size limits, recreational bag limits, and commercial trip limits

Proposed & Final Rules

Proposed Rule
Final Rule

Effective Date

Under Development

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 36 (in progress)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Establish spawning special management zones (Spawning SMZs) to enhance protection for snapper-grouper species in spawning condition including speckled hind and warsaw grouper.

Proposed & Final Rules

Notice of Availability

Effective Date

Under Development

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 35 (in progress)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Remove black snapper, dog snapper, mahogany snapper, and schoolmaster from the Snapper-Grouper FMP.  Clarify regulations governing the use of golden tilefish longline endorsements to align them with the Council’s original intent when the endorsement program was implemented.

Proposed & Final Rules

Proposed Rule

Final Rule

Effective Date

June 22, 2016

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 26 (Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 3) (in progress)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Modify bycatch and discard reporting for commercial and for-hire vessels.

Proposed & Final Rules

Under Development

Effective Date

Under Development

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 22

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Establish a recreational harvest tag program for snapper grouper species with small ACLs

Proposed & Final Rules

Not Developed

Effective Date

Not Developed

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 20B (in progress)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Update wreckfish ITQ according to reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Proposed & Final Rules

Under Development

Effective Date

Under Development

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 25 (2016)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Adjust the annual catch limits, optimum yield, and commercial and recreational management measures for the blueline tilefish stock, change fishing year for yellowtail snapper, and increase bag limit for black sea bass.

Proposed & Final Rules

Proposed Rule

Final Rule

Effective Date

August 12, 2016

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 24

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)
Proposed & Final Rules

TBD

Effective Date

TBD

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 23

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)
Proposed & Final Rules

TBD

Effective Date

TBD

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 17

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Proposed designating MPAs for speckled hind and warsaw grouper.

Proposed & Final Rules

Not developed

Effective Date

Not developed

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 16

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Addresses the prohibition on the use of black sea bass pots; Specifies potential new black sea bass pot gear modifications that aid in gear identification in the event of a whale entanglement.

Proposed & Final Rules

Proposed Rule

Final Rule

Effective Date

December 29, 2016 - pot prohibition changes
March 21, 2017 - line marking requirements (previously was set for January 30, 2017; see NOAA Fishery Bulletin

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 34 (2015)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Modify Accountability Measures for snapper grouper species and the golden crab fishery; adjust sector allocations for dolphin.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 80 FR 58448 FR: 81 FR 3731

Effective Date

February 22, 2016

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 33 (2015)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Allowed dolphin and wahoo fillets to enter the U.S. EEZ after lawful harvest in The Bahamas; -Specified the condition of any dolphin, wahoo, and snapper-grouper fillets;  described how the recreational bag limit is determined for any fillets;  explicitly prohibited the sale or purchase of any dolphin, wahoo, or snapper grouper recreationally harvested in The Bahamas; specified the required documentation to be onboard any vessels that have these fillets; specified transit and stowage provisions for any vessels with fillets.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR:80 FR 60601

FR:80 FR 80686

Effective Date

January 27, 2016

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 20 (2015)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Increased the recreational and commercial ACLs for snowy grouper; adjusted the rebuilding strategy; increased the commercial trip limit; modified the recreational fishing season.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 80 FR 18797

FR: 80 FR 43033

Effective Date

August 20, 2015

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 22 (2015)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Adjusted ACLs and OY for gag and wreckfish; proposed modifications to gag bag limit.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR:80 FR 31880

FR:80 FR 48277

Effective Date

9/11/15 except for the amendments to §§ 622.190(b) and 622.193(r)(1) which were effective 8/12/15

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 29 (2015)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Updated the Council’s ABC control rule to incorporate methodology for determining the ABC of unassessed species; adjusted ABCs for fourteen unassessed snapper grouper species; adjusedt ACLs and ACTs for three species complexes and four snapper grouper species based on revised ABCs; modified and implemented gray triggerfish minimum size limits;  established a commercial split season and commercial trip limits for gray triggerfish.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 79 FR 72567

FR: 80 FR 30947

Effective Date

July 1, 2015

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 32 (2015)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Ended overfishing of blueline tilefish; separated blueline tilefish from the deepwater complex; specified ACLs for blueline tilefish and the deepwater complex; specified AMs for blueline tilefish; revised AMs for the deepwater complex; specified recreational ACTs for blueline tilefish.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 80 FR 3207

FR: 80 FR 16583

Effective Date

March 30, 2015

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 14 (2014)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Modified the fishing year for greater amberjack, and black sea bass; modified the Accountability Measures for vermilion snapper and black sea bass; modified the trip limit for gag.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 79 FR 22936

FR: 79 FR 66316

Effective Date

December 8, 2014

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 21 (2014)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Modified the definition of the overfished threshold (MSST) for red snapper, blueline tilefish, gag, black grouper, yellowtail snapper, vermilion snapper, red porgy, and greater amberjack

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 79 FR 44735

FR: 79 FR 60379

Effective Date

November 6, 2014

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Emergency Rule - Blueline Tilefish

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Removed blueline tilefish from Deepwater Complex ACL;  Established separate commercial and recreational ACLs and AMs for blueline tilefish.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 79 FR 21636

FR:79 FR 61262

Effective Date

4/17/2014 through 10/10/2014 or 4/18/2015

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 31 (2013)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Joint South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Generic Headboat Reporting Amendment: Included under the Generic charter/headboat reporting amendment, that modified logbook reporting for headboat vessels to require electronic reporting, regarding snapper grouper landings.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR:78 FR 59641

FR: 78 FR 78779

Effective Date

January 27, 2014

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 30

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Considered requiring Vessel Monitoring Systems for all federally permitted commercial snapper grouper vessels.

Proposed & Final Rules

Amendment not developed

Effective Date

Amendment not developed

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 27 (2014)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established the South Atlantic Council as the responsible entity for managing Nassau grouper throughout its range including federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico; modified the crew member limit on dual-permitted snapper grouper vessels; modified the restriction on retention of bag limit quantities of some snapper grouper species by captain and crew of for-hire vessels; minimized regulatory delay when adjustments to snapper grouper species’ ABC, ACLs, and ACTs are needed as a result of new stock assessments; addressed harvest of blue runner by commercial fishermen who do not possess a South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Permit.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR:78 FR 78770

FR: 78 FR 57337

Effective Date

January 27, 2014

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 19 (2013)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Adjusted the Annual Catch Limit for black sea bass and implement an annual closure on the use of black sea bass pots from November 1 to April 30.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 78 FR 39700

FR: 78 FR 58249

Effective Date

ACL: 9/23/13 Pot closure: 10/23/13

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 15 (2013)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Modified the existing specification of OY and ACL for yellowtail snapper in the South Atlantic.  Modified the existing gag commercial ACL and AM that required a closure of all other shallow water groupers (black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, graysby, coney, yellowmouth grouper, and yellowfin grouper) in the South Atlantic when the gag commercial ACL is met or projected to be met.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 78 FR 31511

FR: 78 FR 49183

Effective Date

September 12, 2013

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 18 (2013)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Adjusted ACLs for vermilion snapper and red porgy, and removed the 4-month recreational closure for vermilion snapper.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 78 FR 26740

FR: 78 FR 47574

Effective Date

September 5, 2013

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 28 (2013)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established equation and process to determine ACLs and allow limited harvest of red snapper in the South Atlantic.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 78 FR 25047

FR: 78 FR 44461

Effective Date

August 23, 2013

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 13 (2013)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Revised the ABCs, ACLs (including sector ACLs), and ACTs implemented by the Comprehensive ACL Amendmen to prevent a disjunction between the established ACLs and the landings used to determine if AMs are triggered (in response to MRIP implementation and phasing out of MRFSS).

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 78 FR 17336

FR: 78 FR 36113

Effective Date

July 17, 2013

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 26

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Included as part of the Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 3 (CE-BA 3) and will address modifications to bycatch and discard reporting for commercial and for-hire vessels.

Proposed & Final Rules

Under Development

Effective Date

Under Development

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 18B (2013)

Appendices

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

>Limited participation and effort in the golden tilefish commercial sector through establishment of a longline endorsement; modified trip limits; specified allocations for gear groups (75% longline and 25% hook and line).

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 77 FR 75093

FR: 77 FR 2385

Effective Date

May 23, 2013

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 20A (2012)

Appendices

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Redistributed latent shares for the wreckfish individual transfer quota (ITQ) program.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 77 FR 19165

FR: 77 FR 59129

Effective Date

October 26, 2012

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 12 (2012)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Adjusted the ACL and OY for golden tilefish; considered specifying a commercial ACT; revised recreational AMs for golden tilefish.

Proposed & Final Rules

FR: 77 FR 61295

Effective Date

October 9, 2012

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 24 (2011)

Appendices

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Specified MSY, rebuilding plan (including ACLs, AMs, and OY), and allocations for red grouper.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 77 FR 19169

FR: 77 FR 34254

Effective Date

July 11, 2012

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 18A (resubmitted action) - transferability

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

NMFS disapproved the action establishing transferability criteria for the black sea bass pot endorsement because the amendment identified the wrong preferred. The Council re-submitted the action on July 5, 2012

Proposed & Final Rules

FR: 77 FR 72991

Effective Date

January 7, 2013

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 18A (2012)

Appendices

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Limited participation and effort in the black sea bass sector through endorsement program; modified management measures for black sea bass pot sector; improved the accuracy, timing, and quantity of fisheries statistics.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 77 FR 16991

FR: 77FR3 2408

Effective Date

July 1, 2012

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 11 (2011)

Appendices

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Eliminated 240 ft harvest prohibition for six deepwater species.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 76 FR 78879

FR: 77 FR 27374

Effective Date

May 10, 2012

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 25 (2011)

Appendices

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment: Established acceptable biological catch (ABC) control rules, establish ABCs, ACLs, and AMs for species not undergoing overfishing; removed some species from South Atlantic FMU and designate others as ecosystem component species; specified allocations between the commercial and, recreational sectors for species not undergoing overfishing; limited the total mortality for federally managed species in the South Atlantic to the ACLs.

Effective Date

April 16, 2012

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 23 (2011)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 2 (CE-BA 2): Designated the Deepwater MPAs as EFH-HAPCs; limited harvest of snapper grouper species in SC SMZs to the bag limit; modified sea turtle release gear.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 76 FR 69230

FR: 76 FR 82183

Effective Date

January 30, 2012

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 9 (2011)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established trip limits for vermilion snapper and gag; increased trip limit for greater amberjack; reduced bag limit for black sea bass.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 76 FR 23930 

FR: 76 FR 34892

Effective Date

Bag limit: 6/22/11 Trip limits: 7/15/11

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 10 (2011)

Appendices

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Eliminated closed area for snapper grouper species approved in Amendment 17A.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 76 FR 9530

FR: 76 FR 23728

Effective Date

May 31, 2011

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 17B (2010)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Specified ACLs, annual catch targets (ACT), and AMs, where necessary, for 9 species undergoing overfishing Modified management measures as needed to limit harvest to the ACL or ACT; Updated the framework procedure for specification of total allowable catch; Prohibited harvest of 6 deepwater species seaward of 240 feet to curb bycatch of speckled hind and warsaw grouper.

Effective Date

January 30, 2011

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Emergency Rule

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Delayed the effective date of the area closure for snapper grouper species implemented through Amendment 17A.

Proposed & Final Rules

75 FR 76890

Effective Date

December 3, 2010

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 17A (2010)

Appendices

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Required use of non-stainless steel circle hooks when fishing for snapper grouper species with hook-and-line gear north of 28 deg. N latitude in the South Atlantic EEZ; specified an annual catch limit (ACL) and an accountability measure (AM) for red snapper with management measures to reduce the probability that catches will exceed the stocks’ ACL; specified a rebuilding plan for red snapper; specified status determination criteria for red snapper; specified a monitoring program for red snapper. Established an area closure for snapper grouper species.

Effective Date

12/3/2010-red snapper closure; 3/3/2011-circle hooks

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 19 (2009)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1 (CE-BA 1): Provided presentation of spatial information for EFH and EFH-HAPC designations under the Snapper Grouper FMP. Designated Deepwater Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs)

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 75 FR 14548

FR: 75 FR 35330

Effective Date

July 22, 2010

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Interim Rule (2009)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Interim measures to reduce overfishing of red snapper in the South Atlantic published in the Federal Register on December 4, 2009 and became effective January 4, 2010. NOAA Fisheries Service published the Final Rule which established a prohibition on recreational and commercial harvest of red snapper in federal waters off of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. The Interim Rule was extended for another 186-day period until December 5, 2010.

Proposed & Final Rules

Final Rule

Effective Date
Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 16 (2009)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

For gag:
Specified interim allocations 51% commercial & 49% recreational; Recreational and commercial shallow water grouper spawning closure January through April; Directed commercial quota= 352,940 lb gw; Reduced 5-fish aggregate grouper bag limit, including tilefish species, to a 3-fish aggregate; Captain and crew on for-hire trips cannot retain the bag limit of vermilion snapper and species within the 3-fish grouper aggregate;

For vermilion snapper:
Specified interim allocations 68% commercial & 32% recreational; Directed commercial quota split Jan-June=315,523 lb gw and 302,523 lb gw July-Dec; Reduced bag limit from 10 to 5 and a recreational closed season November through March; Required dehooking tools.

Effective Date

July 29, 2009

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 15B (2008)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Prohibited the sale of bag-limit caught snapper grouper species; reduced the effects of incidental hooking on sea turtles and smalltooth sawfish; adjusted commercial renewal periods and transferability requirements; implemented plan to monitor and assess bycatch; established reference points for golden tilefish; established allocations for snowy grouper (95% commercial & 5% recreational) and red porgy (50% commercial & 50% recreational).

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 74 FR 30569

FR: 74 FR 58902

Effective Date

February 15, 2010

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 15A (2008)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established rebuilding plans and status determination criteria for snowy grouper, black sea bass, and red porgy.

Proposed & Final Rules

73 FR 14942

Effective Date

March 14, 2008

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 14 (2007)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established eight deepwater Type II marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect a portion of the population and habitat of long-lived deepwater snapper grouper species.

Effective Date

February 12, 2009

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Notice of Control Date

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established control date for black sea bass pot sector in the South Atlantic.

Proposed & Final Rules

74 FR 7849

Effective Date

December 4, 2008

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Notice of Control Date

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established a control date for the golden tilefish portion of the snapper grouper fishery in the South Atlantic.

Proposed & Final Rules

74 FR 7849

Effective Date

December 4, 2008

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Notice of Control Date

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Considered measures to limit participation in the snapper grouper for-hire sector.

Proposed & Final Rules

72 FR 60794

Effective Date

March 8, 2007

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 13C (2006)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Ended overfishing of snowy grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, and golden tilefish.
Increased allowable catch of red porgy. Year 1 = 2006.

Effective Date

October 23, 2006

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Notice of Control Date

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Considered management measures to further limit participation or effort in the commercial fishery for snapper grouper species (excluding wreckfish).

Proposed & Final Rules

70 FR 60058

Effective Date

October 14, 2005

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 13A (2003)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Extended for an indefinite period the regulation prohibiting fishing for and possessing snapper grouper species within the Oculina Experimental Closed Area.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 68 FR 66069

FR: 69 FR 15731

Effective Date

April 26, 2004

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 8 (2000)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established 12 SMZs at artificial reefs off Georgia; revised boundaries of 7 existing SMZs off Georgia to meet CG permit specs; restricted fishing in new and revised SMZs.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 65 FR 41041

FR: 65 FR 61114

Effective Date

November 15, 2000

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 9 (1998) resubmitted

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Commercial trip limit for greater amberjack.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 63 FR 63276

FR: 65 FR 55203

Effective Date

October 13, 2000

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 12 (2000)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

For Red porgy:
MSY=4.38 mp; OY=45% static SPR; MFMT=0.43; MSST=7.34 mp; rebuilding timeframe=18 years (1999=year 1). No sale of red porgy during Jan-April; 1 fish bag limit; 50 lb. bycatch commercial trip limit May-December. Modified management options and list of possible framework actions.

Effective Date

September 22, 2000

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 11 (1998)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Comprehensive Sustainable Fisheries Act Amendment:

  • Maximum sustainable yield (MSY) proxy:  goliath and Nassau grouper = 40% static spawning potential ratio (SPR); all other species = 30% static SPR; OY:  hermaphroditic groupers = 45% static SPR; goliath and Nassau grouper = 50% static SPR;  all other species = 40% static SPR
  • Overfished/overfishing evaluations:
  • BSB:  overfished (minimum stock size threshold (MSST)=3.72 mp, 1995; biomass=1.33 mp); undergoing overfishing (maximum fishing mortality threshold (MFMT)=0.72, F1991-1995=0.95)
  • Vermilion snapper:  overfished (static SPR = 21-27%)
  • Red porgy:  overfished (static SPR = 14-19%).
  • Red snapper:  overfished (static SPR = 24-32%)
  • Gag:  overfished (static SPR = 27%); Scamp:  no longer overfished (static SPR = 35%)
  • Speckled hind:  overfished (static SPR = 8-13%)
  • Warsaw grouper:  overfished (static SPR = 6-14%)
  • Snowy grouper:  overfished (static SPR = 5-15%)
  • White grunt:  no longer overfished (static SPR = 29-39%)
  • Golden tilefish:  overfished (couldn’t estimate static SPR)
  • Nassau grouper:  overfished (couldn’t estimate static SPR)
  • Goliath grouper:  overfished (couldn’t estimate static SPR)
  • Overfishing level:  goliath and Nassau grouper = F>F40% static SPR; all other species: = F>F30% static SPR
  • Approved definitions for overfished and overfishing.
  • MSST = [(1-M) or 0.5 whichever is greater]*BMSY.
  • MFMT = FMSY.
Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 64 FR 27952

FR: 64 FR 59126

Effective Date

December 2, 1999

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 10 (1998)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Comprehensive Essential Fish Habitat Amendment: Identified essential fish habitat (EFH) and established habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC) for species in the snapper grouper FMU.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 64 FR 37082 and 64 FR 59152 FR: 65 FR 37292

Effective Date

July 14, 2000

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Emergency Interim Rule

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Prohibited harvest of possession of red porgy.

Proposed & Final Rules

64 FR 48324 and 65 FR 10040

Effective Date

09/08/99, expired 08/28/00

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Emergency Action

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Reopened the Amendment 8 permit application process.

Proposed & Final Rules

64 FR 48326

Effective Date

September 3, 1999

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 9 (1998)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)
  • Red porgy: 14” TL (recreational and commercial); 5 fish rec. bag limit; no harvest or possession > bag limit, and no purchase or sale, in March and April;
  • Black sea bass:  10” TL (recreational and commercial); 20 fish rec. bag limit; required escape vents and escape panels with degradable fasteners in bsb pots;
  • Greater amberjack:  1 fish rec. bag limit; no harvest or possession > bag limit, and no purchase or sale, during April; quota = 1,169,931 lb; began fishing year May 1; prohibited coring;
  • Specified size limits for several snapper grouper species (indicated in parentheses in inches TL): including yellowtail snapper (12), mutton snapper (16), red snapper (20); red grouper, yellowfin grouper, yellowmouth grouper, and scamp (20) ;
  • Vermilion snapper:  11” TL (recreational), 12” TL commercial;
  • Gag:  24” TL (recreational); no commercial harvest or possession > bag limit, and no purchase or sale, during March and April;
  • Black grouper:  24” TL (recreational and commercial); no harvest or possession > bag limit, and no purchase or sale, during March and April;
  • Gag and Black grouper:  within 5 fish aggregate grouper bag limit, no more than 2 fish may be gag or black grouper (individually or in combination);
  • All snapper grouper without a bag limit:  aggregate recreational bag limit 20 fish/person/day, excluding tomtate and blue runner;
  • Vessels with longline gear aboard may only possess snowy, warsaw, yellowedge, and misty grouper, and golden, blueline and sand tilefish.
Effective Date

February 24, 1999

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 7 (1998)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established 10 SMZs at artificial reefs off South Carolina.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 63 FR 43656

FR: 63 FR 71793

Effective Date

January 29, 1999

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Request not Implemented

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

NMFS informed the Council that the final rule for Amendment 9 would be effective 2/24/99; therefore emergency rule not implemented.

Proposed & Final Rules
Effective Date

January 22, 1999

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 8 (1997)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established program to limit initial eligibility for snapper grouper fishery:  Must have demonstrated landings of any species in the snapper grouper FMU in 1993, 1994, 1995 or 1996; and have held valid snapper grouper permit between 02/11/96 and 02/11/97.  Granted transferable permit with unlimited landings if vessel landed ≥ 1,000 pounds (lb) of  snapper grouper species in any of the years.  Granted non-transferable permit with 225 lb trip limit to all other vessels.  Modified problems, objectives, optimum yield (OY), and overfishing definitions.  Expanded the Council’s habitat responsibility.  Allowed retention of snapper grouper species in excess of bag limit on permitted vessel with a single bait net or cast nets on board.  Allowed permitted vessels to possess filleted fish harvested in the Bahamas under certain conditions.

Effective Date

December 14, 1998

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Emergency Rule Request

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Council requested Amendment 9 be implemented via emergency rule.

Proposed & Final Rules
Effective Date

September 24, 1998

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Action Suspended

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

NMFS informed the Council that action on the interim rule request was suspended.

Proposed & Final Rules
Effective Date

May 14, 1998

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Interim Rule Request

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Council requested all Amendment 9 measures except black sea bass pot construction changes be implemented as an interim request under the Magnuson-Stevens Act.

Proposed & Final Rules
Effective Date

January 16, 1998

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Notice of Control Date

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Anyone entering federal black sea bass pot fishery off South Atlantic states after 04/23/97 was not assured of future access if limited entry program developed.

Proposed & Final Rules

62 FR 22995

Effective Date

April 23, 1997

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 6 (1994)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established actions which applied only to EEZ off Atlantic coast of FL:  Bag limits – 5 hogfish/person/day (recreational only), 2 cubera snapper/person/day > 30” TL; 12” TL – gray triggerfish.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 60 FR 8620

FR: 60 FR 19683

Effective Date

May 22, 1995

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 7 (1994)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

12” FL – hogfish; 16” TL – mutton snapper;rRequired dealer, charter and headboat federal permits; allowed sale under specified conditions; specified allowable gear and made allowance for experimental gear; allowed multi-gear trips in NC; added localized overfishing to list of problems and objectives; adjusted bag limit and crew specs. for charter and headboats; modified management unit for scup to apply south of Cape Hatteras, NC; modified framework procedure.

Effective Date

January 23, 1995

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 6 (1993)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Set up separate commercial TAC levels for golden tilefish and snowy grouper; established commercial trip limits for snowy grouper, golden tilefish, speckled hind, and warsaw grouper; included golden tilefish in grouper recreational aggregate bag limits; prohibited sale of warsaw grouper and speckled hind; 100% logbook coverage upon renewal of permit; created the Oculina Experimental Closed Area; specified data collection needs for evaluation of possible future individual fishing quota system.

Effective Date

July 27, 1994

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 5 (1992)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established 8 SMZs off South Carolina, where only hand-held, hook-and-line gear and spearfishing (excluding powerheads) was allowed.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 58 FR 13732

FR: 58 FR 35895

Effective Date

July 31, 1993

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 4 (1992)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

For Black Sea Bass (bsb): Modified definition of bsb pot; allowed multi-gear trips for bsb; allowed retention of incidentally-caught fish on bsb trips.

Proposed & Final Rules

FR: 58 FR 36155

Effective Date

July 6, 1993

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Emergency Rule Extension

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

For Black Sea Bass (bsb): Modified definition of bsb pot; allowed multi-gear trips for bsb; allowed retention of incidentally-caught fish on bsb trips.

Proposed & Final Rules
Effective Date

November 30, 1992

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Emergency Rule

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

For Black Sea Bass (bsb): Modified definition of bsb pot; allowed multi-gear trips for bsb; allowed retention of incidentally-caught fish on bsb trips.

Proposed & Final Rules
Effective Date

August 31, 1992

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 5 (1992)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

For wreckfish:
Established limited entry system with individual transferable quotas (ITQs); required dealer to have permit; rescinded 10,000 lb. trip limit; required off-loading between 8 am and 5 pm; reduced occasions when 24-hour advance notice of offloading required for off-loading; established procedure for initial distribution of percentage shares of total allowable catch (TAC).

Effective Date

April 6, 1992

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 4 (1991)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Prohibited gear:  fish traps except black sea bass traps north of Cape Canaveral, FL; entanglement nets; longline gear inside 50 fathoms; bottom longlines to harvest wreckfish; powerheads and bangsticks in designated SMZs off S. Carolina. Defined overfishing/overfished and established rebuilding timeframe:  red snapper and groupers ≤ 15 years (year 1 = 1991); other snappers, greater amberjack, black sea bass, red porgy ≤ 10 years (year 1 = 1991).  Required permits (commercial & for-hire) and specified data collection regulations.  Established an assessment group and annual adjustment procedure (framework).  Permit, gear, and vessel id requirements specified for black sea bass traps. No retention of snapper grouper spp. caught in other fisheries with gear prohibited in snapper grouper fishery if captured snapper grouper had no bag limit or harvest was prohibited.  If had a bag limit, could retain only the bag limit; 8” TL limit – lane snapper; 10” TL limit – vermilion snapper (recreational only); 12” TL limit – red porgy, vermilion snapper (commercial only), gray, yellowtail, mutton, schoolmaster, queen, blackfin, cubera, dog, mahogany, and silk snappers; 20” TL limit – red snapper, gag, and red, black, scamp, yellowfin, and yellowmouth groupers; 28” fork length (FL) limit – greater amberjack (recreational only); 36” FL or 28” core length – greater amberjack (commercial only).  Bag limits – 10 vermilion snapper, 3 greater amberjack. Aggregate snapper bag limit – 10/person/day, excluding vermilion snapper and allowing no more than 2 red snappers. Aggregate grouper bag limit – 5/person/day, excluding Nassau and goliath grouper, for which no retention (recreational & commercial) is allowed.  Spawning season closure – commercial harvest greater amberjack > 3 fish bag prohibited in April south of Cape Canaveral, FL.  Spawning season closure – commercial harvest mutton snapper >snapper aggregate prohibited during May and June.  Charter/headboats and excursion boat possession limits extended

Effective Date

January 1, 1992

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 3 (1991)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established a management program for the wreckfish fishery which: added wreckfish to the snapper grouper management unit; defined OY and overfishing; required an annual permit to fish for, land or sell wreckfish; established a control date of March 28, 1990 for the area bounded by 33° and 30° N. latitude; established a fishing year beginning April 16; established a process whereby annual quotas would be specified; implemented a 10,000 pound trip limit and a January 15 – April 15spawning season closure

Effective Date

January 31, 1991

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Notice of Control Date

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Anyone entering federal wreckfish fishery in the EEZ off S. Atlantic states after 09/24/90 was not assured of future access if limited entry program developed.

Proposed & Final Rules

55 FR 39039

Effective Date

September 24, 1990

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Fishery Closure Notice

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Wreckfish fishery closed because the commercial quota of 2 million pounds was reached.

Proposed & Final Rules

5 FR 32635

Effective Date

August 8, 1990

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Emergency Rule

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Added wreckfish to the fishery management unit (FMU); fishing year beginning 4/16/90; commercial quota of 2 million pounds; commercial trip limit of 10,000 pounds per trip.

Proposed & Final Rules

55 FR 32257

Effective Date

August 3, 1990

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 2 (1990)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Prohibited harvest or possession of jewfish (goliath grouper) in or from the EEZ in the South Atlantic; and defined overfishing for snapper grouper species according to NMFS 602 guidelines.

Effective Date

December 14, 1990

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 3 (1989)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established an artificial reef at Key Biscayne, FL as an SMZ in Dade County, FL; prohibited fish trapping, bottom longlining, spearfishing and harvesting of Goliath grouper in SMZ.

Proposed & Final Rules
Effective Date
Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 2 (1988)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Established 2 artificial reefs off Ft. Pierce, FL as SMZs.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 53 FR 32412

FR: 54 FR 8342

Effective Date

March 30, 1989

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Amendment 1 (1988)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Prohibited trawl gear to harvest fish south of Cape Hatteras, NC and north of Cape Canaveral, FL; directred fishery as vessel with trawl gear and ≥200 lb s-g on board; established rebuttable assumption that vessel with s-g on board had harvested such fish in the EEZ.

Effective Date

January 12, 1989

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Regulatory Amendment 1 (1987)

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

Prohibited fishing in SMZs except with hand-held hook-and-line and spearfishing gear; prohibited harvest of goliath grouper in SMZs.

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 51 FR 43937

FR: 52 FR 9864

Effective Date

March 27, 1987

Amendment(Year Submitted)

Fishery Management Plan (1983)

Source Document

Summary of Major Actions(Refer to Proposed & Final Rules for details)

12” total length (TL) limit – red snapper, yellowtail snapper, red grouper, Nassau grouper; 8” limit – black sea bass; 4” trawl mesh size; gear limitations – poisons, explosives, fish traps, trawls; designated modified habitats or artificial reefs as Special Management Zones (SMZs).

Proposed & Final Rules

PR: 48 FR 26843

Effective Date

August 31, 1983