The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is considering modifying catch levels for Atlantic Spanish Mackerel following the latest stock assessment indicating the stock is neither overfished nor undergoing overfishing. The decision was made as Council members convened this week in St. Augustine, Florida to address a wide variety of federal fishery management issues.
Planning for your next trip offshore this spring? Beginning May 1st there are a few more species available to harvest in South Atlantic federal waters (greater than 3 nautical miles off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and the east coast of Florida).
Members of South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and Socio-Economic Panel (SEP) will come together in Charleston, South Carolina April 17-20, 2023 to discuss a broad range of topics relevant to federal fisheries. The members include biologists, stock assessment scientists, economists, social scientists, and natural resource specialists from academic institutions, and state and federal marine resource agencies.
Federal fisheries management is complex. Effective management involves input from persons directly involved in the fisheries. Congress recognized this back in 1976 when it passed legislation establishing eight regional fishery management councils in the United States (the Magnuson-Stevens Conservation and Management Act) and required the councils to have advisory panels. These advisory panels include private recreational, charter/for-hire, commercial fishermen, researchers, and others directly involved in and knowledgeable about fisheries. AP members provide information and recommendations at the grassroots level to better inform the federal fishery management process.
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.
Size matters – especially when it comes to fisheries management. A new collaborative project SMILE (Size Matters: Innovative Length Estimate) is now underway in the Florida Keys to help collect information about fish lengths.
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently soliciting public comment for two actions proposed in Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 35. The amendment’s first action would modify the annual catch limit for Red Snapper to address overfishing, primarily driven by high numbers of fish in the recreational fishery released throughout the year that don’t survive. These dead fish comprise approximately 85% of the allowable removals for the fishery. Due to the high proportion of removals being dead discards, reductions in landings alone, even no allowable landings, will not end the overfishing of Red Snapper. Therefore, in order to end overfishing, the Council must also reduce dead discards.
After considering recommendations from its advisory panels, Scientific and Statistical Committee, and public input, the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council approved three amendments for Secretarial review during its December meeting at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. If approved by the Secretary of Commerce, measures proposed in the amendments would likely be implemented in 2023.
Persons interested in federal fisheries management have an opportunity to become more involved by applying now for open seats on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s advisory panels. The advisory panels inform and guide the Council in developing and implementing federal fishery management plans and amendments. Issues currently being addressed by the Council include options […]