South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Dolphin Wahoo

Dolphin Wahoo

The Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan applies to the common dolphin, pompano dolphin, bullet and frigate mackerel, and wahoo resources of the Atlantic, including the jurisdictions of the South Atlantic, Mid Atlantic, and New England Fishery Management Councils. The original FMP was approved in 2003. 

FMP Goals and Objectives

Goal 1 (Precautionary Approach)

Management of the dolphin and wahoo fisheries is precautionary, risk-averse, and maintains historic catch levels while preventing overfishing.

  • Maintain catch levels that do not exceed catch level recommendations for dolphin or wahoo and do not directly change the balance of landings in comparison to the historic fishery to the extent that conflict is created between the recreational and commercial sectors. 
  • Minimize bycatch of dolphin and wahoo in non-directed fisheries. 
Goal 2 (Access)

The recreational and commercial sectors retain access to the dolphin and wahoo resource. 

  • For the recreational sector, adopt management measures that ensure consistent and predictable access to dolphin and wahoo when they are regionally available as well as maintain abundant stock levels that lead to high encounter rates and elevated trip satisfaction. 
  • For the commercial sector, adopt management measures that ensure consistent and predictable access to dolphin and wahoo when they are regionally available. 
  • Address concerns as practicable over localized reduction in fish abundance and the resulting perceived decline in local availability of dolphin and wahoo. 
Goal 3 (Minimize Competition Between User Groups)

Competition between user groups is minimized. 

  • Ensure effort and catch levels of dolphin and wahoo by distinct user groups does not notably expand beyond their traditional share of the fishery. 
  • Exercise caution in allowing development of new fisheries or expansion of existing fisheries that may increase competition between user groups.
Goal 4 (Economic and Social Importance)

Management of the dolphin and wahoo fisheries recognizes and preserves their economic and social importance to both the recreational and commercial sectors. 

  • Manage the dolphin and wahoo resources to achieve optimum yield on a continuing basis in order to maximize the economic and social net benefits of the fishery. 
  • Minimize market disruption. In the short-term, commercial markets (mainly local) may be disrupted if large quantities of dolphin are landed from intense commercial harvest or unregulated catch. 
  • Encourage research that improves knowledge about the social and economic elements of the dolphin and wahoo fishery. 
  • Improve awareness and understanding of how social and economic issues are linked to dolphin and wahoo fishery management measures. 
Goal 5 (Ecosystem Based Management and Research Priorities)

Management of the dolphin and wahoo fisheries recognizes the importance of biologic information and incorporating ecosystem considerations. 

  • Support improved and expanded monitoring and reporting programs for the dolphin and wahoo fishery. Promote collection of quality data to support management plans and programs considered by the Council. 
  • Support measures that incorporate ecosystem considerations for the management of dolphin and wahoo where practicable. 
  • Promote research aimed at developing ecosystem based management of dolphin and wahoo. 
  • Promote research that enhances collection of biologic and habitat data on dolphin and wahoo stocks and fisheries. 

Species

Staff contacts

Recent news

Upcoming meetings

Amendments under development

  • Dolphin Wahoo Regulatory Amendment 3

    includes actions that would increase the applicable geographic range of the 20” FL minimum size limit for dolphin, modify bag and vessel limits for dolphin, and reduce or remove captain and crew bag limits of dolphin.

    Scoping
  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 11

    Included in the Comprehensive Acceptable Biological Catch Control Rule Amendment. Modifies the Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) Control Rule to address scientific uncertainty, management risk, and rebuilding stocks. Specifies criteria and procedures for phase-in of ABC changes and carry-over of unused portions of annual catch limits.

    Public hearing
  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 4

    Included in the Joint Commercial Electronic Logbook Reporting Amendment. Modifies reporting requirements for commercial logbooks in the snapper grouper, coastal migratory pelagics (mackerel and cobia) , and dolphin wahoo fisheries.

    Pre-scoping

Completed Amendments

  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 10

    Revises the acceptable biological catch, annual catch limits, sector allocations, accountability measures, and management measures for dolphin and wahoo.

    May 2, 2022
  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 12

    Added bullet and frigate mackerel to the Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan as ecosystem component species.

    Jun 9, 2021
  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 9

    Included in the Comprehensive For-Hire Electronic Reporting Amendment. Modified reporting requirements for federally-permitted charter vessels and headboats in the snapper grouper, dolphin wahoo, and coastal migratory pelagics (mackerel and cobia) fisheries.

    Jan 4, 2021
  • Dolphin Wahoo Regulatory Amendment 1

    Established a commercial trip limit for Atlantic dolphin for vessels with a Federal commercial permit for Atlantic dolphin and wahoo.

    Mar 21, 2017
  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 7

    Addressed possession and handling of dolphin and wahoo fillets for vessels entering the U.S. EEZ after lawful harvest in The Bahamas.

    May 1, 2015
  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 8

    Adjusted sector allocations for dolphin. Modified accountability measures for snapper grouper species and golden crab.

    Feb 1, 2015
  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 5

    Revised the acceptable biological catch, annual catch limits, sector allocations, and accountability measures for dolphin and revised framework provisions.

    Jul 9, 2014
  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 3

    Included in the Comprehensive Dealer Reporting Amendment. Modified permitting and reporting requirements for seafood dealers receiving federally managed species under eight fishery management plans.

    Jul 7, 2014
  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 6

    Included in the Comprehensive Headboat Reporting Amendment. Modified reporting requirements for federally-permitted headboats fishing in the South Atlantic for snapper grouper species, dolphin and wahoo, and coastal migratory pelagics (mackerel and cobia).

    Jan 27, 2014
  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 2

    Included in the Comprehensive Annual Catch Limit Amendment. Established acceptable biological catch (ABC) control rules, ABC levels, annual catch limits, sector and jurisdictional allocations, and accountability measures for species not undergoing overfishing; modified the snapper grouper fishery management unit (removed species, designated ecosystem component species, established complexes).

    Apr 16, 2012
  • Dolphin Wahoo Amendment 1

    Included in the Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 1. Established deepwater Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (CHAPC) and established Shrimp Fishery Access Areas and Allowable Golden Crab Fishing Areas within the CHAPCs. Provided spatial information for Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) and EFH-HAPC under multiple fishery management plans.

    Jul 22, 2010
  • Dolphin Wahoo Fishery Management Plan

    This original FMP intended to conserve and manage dolphin and wahoo off the Atlantic states (Maine through the east coast of Florida), and to ensure that no new fisheries for dolphin and wahoo develop.

    Jun 28, 2004