South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

Members of the South Atlantic Council met last week in Jekyll Island, Georgia and discussed a broad range of topics, ranging from Black Sea Bass to reporting compliance in the for-hire fishery.

Council Approves Management Measures for Red Snapper, Gag, and Black Grouper During March Meeting

Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved measures to reduce the annual catch limit for Red Snapper and help address release mortality for Red Snapper and other species managed as part of the snapper grouper complex. Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 35 would reduce the total Annual Catch Limit from 42,510 fish to 28,000 fish once implemented.

Federal Fishery Managers Consider Options for Red Snapper Management

There were many agenda items affecting federal fisheries management for the September meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, but a single issue dominated interest from the public – the potential use of time/area closures for the snapper grouper fishery. The Council received a total of 1,047 online written comments, with the majority opposing time and area closures to address release mortality in the Red Snapper fishery. The opposition continued as the Council received comments during the meeting in Charleston, SC from charter captains, recreational fishermen, regional business leaders, boat and fishing gear manufacturers, and Florida Congressman John Rutherford.

South Atlantic Council Moving Forward to Address Red Snapper and Reduce Release Mortality in Snapper Grouper Fishery

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will continue to develop measures to revise catch levels for Red Snapper and help reduce release mortality for all species managed in the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan. Reductions in catch levels for Red Snapper are required to end overfishing. The most recent stock assessment for Red Snapper shows the stock remains overfished and is undergoing overfishing, primarily due to the increasing number of fish that die after being released throughout the year as the stock continues to rebuild. Council members considered public input and recommendations from the Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel during discussions at the Council meeting last week in Key West, Florida. The measures are proposed in Regulatory Amendment 35 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan and would apply to federal waters off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and the east coast of Florida.

The South Atlantic Bite

Next week’s meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will be a busy one, as Council members address federal fishery issues ranging from ways to reduce release mortality in the Snapper Grouper fishery to evaluating the Council’s Citizen Science Program.

Council Exploring Options to Reduce Release Mortality and a Holistic Approach to Management of Snapper Grouper Species

December 15, 2021 – Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council are beginning to explore ways to reduce the number of fish that are released in the Snapper Grouper Management Complex and improve survival rates for those fish that are released. The multi-species complex includes 55 species of snappers, groupers, porgies, grunts, and amberjacks. […]

Council Approves Expansion of Shrimp Fishery Access Area Adjacent to Deepwater Coral

It has been seven years since expansion of the northern end of the Oculina Bank Habitat Area of Particular Concern (HAPC) was approved by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Designed to provide additional protection for the rare, slow growing, deepwater Oculina coral found off the central east coast of Florida, the expansion also included […]