South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 35

Amendment Summary

The Council is soliciting input on ways to reduce the number of fish that die after being caught and released in the South Atlantic snapper grouper fishery.

The amendment would address this issue across the fishery and revise red snapper catch levels.

Purpose of the Amendment:

  • Respond to the latest stock assessment for red snapper (SEDAR 73). red snapper are overfished and overfishing is occurring, mainly due to a large number of red snapper that die as a result of being caught and released.
  • Dead releases are a major issue in the snapper grouper fishery as a whole and affect many species within the complex.
  • The amendment would consider management changes to reduce release mortality in the snapper grouper fishery that would lead to a possible adjustment to the recommended Acceptable Biological Catch for red snapper. 

Key Events:  

  • June 2021: The Council received the results of SEDAR 73 and requested the SSC review the recommended ABC. 
  • September 2021: Reviewed the SSC’s recommendation and requested additional information in preparation to initiate the regulatory amendment. 
  • Winter 2022: Initial analyses developed and preliminary scoping conducted January 18-February 4. 
  • March 2022: Regulatory amendment initiated and additional information and input requested of staff, the Snapper Grouper AP, and the SSC. The AP and SSC met and provided recommendations in April 2022. 
  • June 2022: Additional analyses presented for Red Snapper. Council directed consideration of some actions and additional analyses of impacts to the snapper grouper fishery (other than Red Snapper). 
  • September 2022: Analyses presented on snapper grouper recreational catch and releases. Council reviewed preliminary actions and provided guidance on alternatives to include and adjusted the development timeline for final approval in March 2023.

Most recent amendment document

  • Final approval
  • Implementation
  • Pre-scoping
  • Public hearing
  • Rule making
  • Scoping
  • Secretarial review

Public comments