Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 10

Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 10

In March 2016, the Council directed staff to begin development of a joint dolphin wahoo and snapper grouper amendment to examine different ways to allocate or share quota between the commercial and recreational sectors for dolphin and yellowtail snapper.  In June 2016, the Council approved the amendment for scoping hearings, which were held in August 2016.  Options included a common pool allocation, a reserve category, temporary or permanent shifts in allocation, combined annual catch limits, and creating gear allocations in the commercial dolphin fishery.

In December 2016, the Council considered approving the amendment, which was being developed jointly with Snapper Grouper Amendment 44 for public hearings in early 2017.  Instead, the Council directed staff to continue to develop Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 10 but separately from SG Am 44 and include an action to revise the Acceptable Biological Catch Control Rule to include a carry-over provision from one fishing year to the next. The Council also directed staff to develop actions that would eliminate the operator card requirement in the Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan, revised optimum yield, and allow properly permitted vessels with gear onboard that are not authorized for use in the dolphin wahoo fishery to possess dolphin or wahoo.  Consequently, the Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan actions were not approved for public hearings.  In March 2017, the Council decided to stop work on the amendment until revised Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) data were available.

At the December 2018 meeting, the Council directed staff to start work again on the amendment with the inclusion of additional items to allow bag limit sales of dolphin for dually permitted for-hire and commercial permit holders, modify gear, bait, and training requirements in the commercial longline fishery for dolphin and wahoo to align with HMS requirements, reduce the recreational vessel limit for dolphin, revise Annual Catch Limits to accommodate new MRIP data, and revise sector allocations. At the June 2019 meeting, the Council removed the action that would allow bag limit sales of dolphin, moved actions from the Recreational Accountability Modifications Amendment (Dolphin Wahoo Regulatory Amendment 2) to Amendment 10, and added an action that would allow filleting of dolphin at sea onboard for-hire vessels in the waters north of the Virginia/North Carolina state border.

The Council reviewed Amendment 10 at the December 2019 meeting and voted to postpone discussion on the amendment until the June 2020 meeting in expectation of new ABC levels from the Council’s SSC for both dolphin and wahoo.  The new ABC levels were provided at the June 2020 meeting and the Council reviewed the amendment, removing actions that would revise OY and ACTs for dolphin.  The Council also moved actions that would modify gear, bait, and training requirements in the commercial longline fishery for dolphin and wahoo to align with HMS requirements to a new amendment.  At the September 2020 meeting, the Council further refined Amendment 10 and removed actions that would revise commercial accountability measures.

In December 2020, the Council approved the purpose and need statements for the amendment and added an action that would revise the recreational vessel limits for wahoo. At this meeting, the Council also approved Amendment 10 for public hearings to be held January 26, 27, & 28, 2021.

As of the December 2020 Council meeting, the actions in Amendment 10 would accommodate updated recreational data from the Marine Recreational Information Program by revising the annual catch limits and sector allocations for dolphin and wahoo. The amendment also contains actions that implement various other management changes in the fishery including revising recreational accountability measures, accommodating possession of dolphin and wahoo on vessels with certain unauthorized gears onboard, removing the operator card requirement, reducing the recreational vessel limit for dolphin, reducing the recreational vessel limit for wahoo, implementing a recreational vessel limit for wahoo, and allowing filleting of dolphin at sea onboard for-hire vessels north of the Virginia/North Carolina border. 


Staff Contact

John Hadley (


Documents & Public Comments

Council Process

  • Pre-Scoping:  June 2016
  • Scoping:  August 2016
  • Public Hearing:  January 2021
  • Final Approval: 

NMFS Process

  • Secretarial Review: 
  • Rule Making:  
  • Implementation: