Council Seeks Public Input on Snapper Grouper, Shrimp Issues

SAFMC logo South Atlantic Fishery Management Council  
News Release  
July 18, 2008 CONTACT: Kim Iverson
Public Information Officer
(843) 571-4366

Public Hearings Scheduled for Snapper Grouper, Shrimp Issues

Council seeks input on additional alternatives to address overfishing for gag and vermilion snapper, rock shrimp permitting requirements

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is soliciting public input on two amendments to its fishery management plans and will hold three public hearings to facilitate public comment. Amendment 16 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan (FMP) contains management measures to end overfishing for gag grouper and vermilion snapper as mandated in the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act and include seasonal closures, commercial quotas, and adjustments to bag and size limits.  Amendment 7 to the Shrimp FMP proposes changes to the current requirements for federal South Atlantic rock shrimp permits and endorsements for commercial fishermen.

Public hearings were held for Snapper Grouper Amendment 16 in May 2008.  As a response to public input and recommendations from its Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel, in June 2008 the Council agreed to add four additional management alternatives for consideration and analysis in Amendment 16.  The new alternatives include: (1) a commercial trip limit of 1,000 pounds for gag with a fishing year start date of May 1.  In addition, during March and April, no fishing for and/or possession of the following species would be allowed: gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, tiger grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney;  (2) a commercial trip limit of 1,000 pounds for gag with a fishing year start date of January 1.  In addition, during February, March, and April no fishing for and/or possession of the following species would be allowed: gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, tiger grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney;  (3) implement a May 1 fishing year start date for the commercial vermilion snapper fishery and a 1,000-pound trip limit; and (4) south of the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line, no fishing for and/or possession of the following species would be allowed during June 1 – December 31: gag, black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, tiger grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney.  No fishing for or possession of gag would be allowed year-round south of the Miami-Dade/Monroe County line.  Fishing for black grouper, red grouper, scamp, red hind, rock hind, yellowmouth grouper, tiger grouper, yellowfin grouper, graysby, and coney would be allowed January 1 through May 31 for Monroe County.  Alternative 4 would apply to both commercial and recreational fisheries.  Comments are being solicited for all of the alternatives contained in Amendment 16.

Proposed actions in Amendment 7 to the Shrimp FMP address: (1) the current 15,000-pound landing requirement for rock shrimp; (2) loss of limited access rock shrimp endorsements due to not meeting the landing requirement by December 31, 2007; (3) loss of limited access rock shrimp endorsements due to failing to renew within the specified timeframe; (4) renaming the rock shrimp permit and endorsement to minimize confusion; (5) requirements for Vessel Monitoring System verification; and (6) requirements for the provision of economic data by shrimp permit holders.

Public comment will be taken at the public hearings anytime between the hours of 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM.  Written comments for both amendments are being accepted by the Council until 5:00 pm, August 15, 2008.  Copies of the public hearing documents will be posted on the Council's web site at safmc.net/cms, and may also be obtained from the Council office.  Comments should be addressed to: Bob Mahood, Executive Director, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, Charleston, SC 29405. Email Snapper Grouper Amendment 16 comments to: SGAmend16SecondPH@safmc.net and comments for Shrimp Amendment 7 to: ShrimpAmend7@safmc.net

PUBLIC HEARING SCHEDULE
(3:00 PM until 7:00 PM)

August 7, 2008
Hyatt Regency Riverfront
225 Coast Line Drive East
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Phone: 904/588-1234

August 8, 2008
Radisson Resort at the Port
8701 Astronaut Boulevard
Cape Canaveral, FL  32920
Phone: 321-784-0000

August 12, 2008
Hilton Garden Inn Airport
5265 International Boulevard
North Charleston, SC 29418
Phone: 843-308-9330

Public Hearings Scheduled for Snapper Grouper, Shrimp Issues