South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

Snapper Grouper

Snapper Grouper

The Snapper Grouper Fishery Management plan is the largest plan within the South Atlantic Council’s jurisdiction, comprised of 55 species of snappers, groupers, and more. The original FMP was approved in 1983. 

FMP Goals and Objectives

Official name: Fishery Management Plan for the Snapper Grouper Fishery of the South Atlantic Region.

Goal 1 (Science)

Management decisions for the snapper grouper fishery are based upon robust, defensible science that considers qualitative and quantitative data analyzed in a timely, clear, and transparent manner that builds stakeholder confidence. 

  • Promote collection of quality data to support management plans and programs considered by the Council. 
  • Encourage the development of mechanisms to effectively engage and collaborate with stakeholders on cooperative research, data collection, and analysis. 
  • Improve knowledge about the social and economic elements of the snapper grouper fishery in the South Atlantic. 
  • Support improved and expanded monitoring and reporting programs for the snapper grouper fishery. 
  • Promote data collection and analysis to support ecosystem and habitat considerations for the snapper grouper fishery. 
Goal 2 (Management)

Adopt management strategies for the snapper grouper fishery that rebuild and maintain fishery resources, adapt to regional differences in the fishery, and consider the social and economic needs of fishing communities. 

  • Develop management measures that consider sub-regional differences and issues within the fishery. 
  • Develop innovative management measures that allow consistent access to the fishery for all sectors. 
  • Ensure that management decisions help maximize social and economic opportunity for all sectors. 
  • Develop management measures that reduce and mitigate discards. 
  • Support management measures that incorporate ecosystem and habitat considerations for the snapper grouper fishery. 
  • Develop management measures that support optimal sector allocations for the snapper grouper fishery. 
Goal 3 (Communication)

Employ interactive outreach strategies that encourage continuous participation and support two-way engagement between managers and snapper grouper fishery stakeholders while building a greater understanding of science and management.  

  • Develop communication approaches that provide streamlined and timely information to increase awareness and engage stakeholders. 
  • Ensure that Council communication encourages and supports engagement with a diverse audience of stakeholders. 
  • Improve awareness and understanding of fishery science and research and how these inform management. 
  • Improve awareness and understanding of how social and economic issues are linked to fisheries management measures. 
Goal 4 (Governance)

Commit to a transparent, balanced, and timely decision-making process that allows flexible yet well-defined protocols and strategies for managing the snapper grouper fishery. 

  • Create an accountable and flexible decision-making process for development and evaluation of management measures. 
  • Build capacity to streamline management efforts and better coordinate with management partners. 
  • Improve communication with stakeholders to ensure the needs of the fishery are understood and considered throughout the Council process. 


Upcoming meetings

Amendments under development

  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 56

    Respond to most recent stock assessment (SEDAR 76). 

  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 54

    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.

    Secretarial review
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 57

    Included in the Comprehensive Recreational For-Hire Limited Entry Amendment. Establishes limited entry for the for-hire components of the snapper grouper, coastal migratory pelagics, and dolphin wahoo fisheries.

  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 36

    Consider the addition of on-demand pots currently used under an exempted fishing permit as an allowable gear for commercial harvest of black sea bass. Revise recreational vessel limits for gag and black grouper.

  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 55

    Respond to the latest stock assessment (SEDAR 68).

  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 48

    Modernizes the wreckfish Individual Transferable Quota program.

    Public hearing
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 35

    Addresses release mortality issues in the snapper grouper fishery and modifications to red snapper catch levels.

    Final approval
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 44

    Adjusts yellowtail snapper catch levels.

    Public hearing
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 46

    Addresses private recreational reporting and permitting.

    Public hearing

Completed Amendments

  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 45

    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.

    Feb 2, 2024
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 51

    Adjusts snowy grouper catch levels, sector allocations, management measures, and accountability measures.

    Nov 30, 2023
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 52

    Golden tilefish allocations and blueline tilefish bag limit and accountability measures.

    Nov 28, 2023
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 53

    Addresses gag grouper rebuilding, catch levels, and allocations.

    Sep 22, 2023
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 49

    Adjusts greater amberjack catch levels and allocations.

    Sep 18, 2023
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 50

    Addresses red porgy catch levels, allocations, and rebuilding.

    Jan 19, 2023
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 34

    Designated 34 artificial reefs as Special Management Zones off NC and SC.

    May 3, 2021
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 39

    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
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 33

    Removed the requirement for the recreational red snapper season in the South Atlantic to be at least three days.

    Nov 13, 2020
  • Snapper Grouper Abbreviated Framework Amendment 3

    Adjusted annual catch limits and recreational catch targets for blueline tilefish.

    Aug 17, 2020
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 29

    Required descending devices on board and ready for use on vessels fishing for or possessing snapper grouper species; modified the circle hook requirement; and removed the powerhead prohibition in federal waters off SC.

    Jul 15, 2020
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 26

    Re-evaluation of recreational aggregates, bag limits, and season closures.

    Mar 30, 2020
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 30

    Red grouper rebuilding, commercial trip limits, and spawning season closure in NC and SC.

    Mar 9, 2020
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 27

    Established split seasons for snowy grouper, blueline tilefish, greater amberjack, red porgy and modified minimum size limits and/or trip limits for the Other Jacks Complex, gray triggerfish, vermilion snapper and deep-water snappers.

    Feb 26, 2020
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 42

    Added newly approved gear to the suite of options for sea turtle release gear.

    Jan 8, 2020
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 28

    Modified golden tilefish annual catch limits.

    Jan 4, 2020
  • Snapper Grouper Abbreviated Framework Amendment 2

    Reduced the black sea bass annual catch limit and increased the vermilion snapper annual catch limit.

    May 9, 2019
  • Snapper Grouper Abbreviated Framework Amendment 1

    Adjusted red grouper annual catch limits.

    Aug 27, 2018
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 43

    Adjusted red snapper annual catch limits.

    Jul 26, 2018
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 41

    Updated management measures for mutton snapper.

    Feb 10, 2018
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 37

    Modified various management measures for hogfish.

    Aug 24, 2017
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 36

    Established spawning special management zones to enhance protection for snapper grouper species in spawning condition including speckled hind and warsaw grouper.

    Jul 31, 2017
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 16

    Addressed black sea bass gear modifications in response to whale entanglement.

    Dec 29, 2016
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 25

    Adjusted the annual catch limits, optimum yield, and commercial and recreational management measures for blueline tilefish, changed the fishing year for yellowtail snapper, and increased the bag limit for black sea bass.

    Sep 12, 2016
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 35

    Removed black snapper, dog snapper, mahogany snapper, and schoolmaster from the Snapper Grouper management unit and clarified regulations on golden tilefish longline endorsements.

    Jun 22, 2016
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 22

    Adjusted annual catch limits and optimum yield for gag and wreckfish.

    Sep 11, 2015
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 20

    Increased the recreational and commercial annual catch limits for snowy grouper, adjusted the rebuilding strategy, increased the commercial trip limit, and modified the recreational fishing season.

    Aug 20, 2015
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 29

    Updated ABC control rule to determine the ABC of unassessed species then adjused annual catch limits and annual catch targets, implemented management measures for gray triggerfish.

    Jul 1, 2015
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 33

    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
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 32

    Ended overfishing and established management measures of blueline tilefish.

    Mar 30, 2015
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 34

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

    Feb 1, 2015
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 14

    Modified the fishing year for greater amberjack and black sea bass; modified the cccountability measures for vermilion snapper and black sea bass; modified the trip limit for gag.

    Dec 8, 2014
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 21

    Modified the definition of the overfished threshold (MSST) for red snapper, blueline tilefish, gag, black grouper, yellowtail snapper, vermilion snapper, red porgy, and greater amberjack.

    Nov 6, 2014
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 40

    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
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 31

    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
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 27

    Adopted management of Nassau grouper thoguhtout its range.

    Jan 27, 2014
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 19

    Adjusted the annual catch limit for black sea bass and implemented an annual closure on the use of black sea bass pots.

    Sep 23, 2013
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 15

    Modified annual catch limits for for yellowtail snapper. Modified the gag commercial annual catch limit and commercial accountability measure.

    Sep 12, 2013
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 18

    Adjusted annual catch limits for vermilion snapper and red porgy, and removed the 4-month recreational closure for vermilion snapper.

    Sep 5, 2013
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 28

    Modified red snapper management measures and established a process to determine future annual catch limits and fishing seasons.

    Aug 23, 2013
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 13

    Revised the acceptable biological catch, annual catch limits, sector allocations, and recreational annual catch targets for select unassessed snapper grouper species.

    Jul 17, 2013
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 18B

    Limited participation and effort in the golden tilefish commercial sector through establishment of a longline endorsement.

    May 23, 2013
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 20A

    Redistributed latent shares for the wreckfish individual transfer quota (ITQ) program.

    Oct 26, 2012
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 12

    Adjusted annual catch limits and optimum yield for golden tilefish, considered specifying a commercial annual catch target, and revised recreational accountability measures for golden tilefish.

    Oct 9, 2012
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 24

    Specified maximum sustainable yield, rebuilding plan, catch levels, sector allocations and accountability measures for red grouper.

    Jul 11, 2012
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 18A

    Limited participation and effort in the black sea bass sector through endorsement program; modified management measures for black sea bass pot sector; improved data reporting.

    Jul 1, 2012
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 11

    Eliminated the prohibition on harvest of six deepwater species seaward of 240 feet.

    May 10, 2012
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 25

    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
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 23

    Included in the Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 2. Modified management of octocorals in the South Atlantic, special management zones off South Carolina, and sea turtle release gear requirements for the snapper grouper fishery. Designated essential fish habitat (EFH) and EFH-Habitat Areas of Particular Concern for multiple fishery management plans.

    Jan 30, 2012
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 9

    Established trip limits for vermilion snapper and gag, increased trip limit for greater amberjack, and reduced bag limit for black sea bass.

    Jun 22, 2011
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 10

    Eliminated closed area for snapper grouper species approved in Amendment 17A.

    May 31, 2011
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 17B

    Established various management measures for speckled hind, warsaw grouper, and golden tilefish.

    Jan 30, 2011
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 17A

    Required use of non-stainless steel circle hooks and established various management measures to address red snapper status.

    Dec 3, 2010
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 19

    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
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 15B

    Prohibited the sale of bag-limit caught snapper grouper species, implemented plan to monitor and assess bycatch, reference points for golden tilefish, and allocations for snowy grouper.

    Feb 15, 2010
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 16

    Specified status determination criteria for gag and vermilion snapper and modified management measures.

    Jul 29, 2009
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 14

    Established eight deepwater Type II marine protected areas (MPAs) to protect a portion of the population and habitat of long-lived deepwater snapper grouper species.

    Feb 12, 2009
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 15A

    Established rebuilding plans and status determination criteria for snowy grouper, black sea bass, and red porgy.

    Mar 14, 2008
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 13C

    Ended overfishing of snowy grouper, vermilion snapper, black sea bass, and golden tilefish and increased allowable catch of red porgy.

    Oct 23, 2006
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 13A

    Extended for an indefinite period the regulation prohibiting fishing for and possessing snapper grouper species within the Oculina Experimental Closed Area.

    Apr 26, 2004
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 8

    Designated 12 atificial reefs off Georgia as Special Management Zones and revised the boundaries of 7 existing SMZs. Restricted fishing in new and revised SMZs.

    Nov 15, 2000
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 12

    Established rebuilding plan for red porgy and modified management measures. Modified the framework procedure and permit transfers for trip-limited commercial permits.

    Sep 22, 2000
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 10

    Included in the Comprehensive EFH Amendment. Identified essential fish habitat (EFH) and established EFH-habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC) for managed species in the South Atlantic.

    Jul 14, 2000
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 11

    Included in the Comprehensive Sustainable Fisheries Act Amendment. Addressed definitions and other required provisions of the Sustainable Fisheries Act in South Atlantic fishery management plans.

    Dec 2, 1999
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 9

    Established minimum sizes and modified bag limits for multiple species, specified that vessels with longline gear aboard may only possess deepwater species.

    Feb 24, 1999
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 7

    Designated 10 artificial reefs off South Carolina as Special Management Zones.

    Jan 29, 1999
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 8

    Limited initial eligibility for commercial snapper grouper fishery, granted both transferable and non-transferable permits, modified managment definitions, expanded habitat responsibilities, and made changes to various managment measures.

    Dec 14, 1998
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 6

    Established bag limits for hogfish, cubera snapper, and gray triggerfish which applied only to EEZ off the Atlantic coast of Florida.

    May 22, 1995
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 7

    Required dealer, charter and headboat federal permits. Defined allowable gear and established bag limits and minimum size for hogfish and mutton snapper. Modified the management unit for scup.

    Jan 23, 1995
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 6

    Established management measures for various deepwater species, 100% logbook coverage upon renewal of permit, and created the Oculina Experimental Closed Area.

    Jul 27, 1994
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 5

    Designated 8 artificial reefs off South Carolina as Special Management Zones (SMZ), where only hand-held, hook-and-line gear and spearfishing (excluding powerheads) were allowed.

    Jul 31, 1993
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 4

    Modified definition of black sea bass pot, allowed multi-gear trips, and allowed retention of incidentally caught fish.

    Jul 6, 1993
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 5

    Established limited entry program for wreckfish.

    Apr 6, 1992
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 4

    Established definitions, prohibitions, limits, closures, and framework procedures for multiple species in the FMP.

    Jan 1, 1992
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 3

    Addressed wreckfish management measures.

    Jan 31, 1991
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 2

    Prohibited harvest or possession of goliath grouper and defined overfishing for snapper grouper species.

    Dec 14, 1990
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 3

    Designated an artificial reef at Key Biscayne, FL as a Special Management Zone (SMZ); prohibited fish trapping, bottom longlining, spearfishing and harvesting of goliath grouper in the SMZ.

    Nov 2, 1990
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 2

    Designated two artificial reefs off Ft. Pierce, FL as Special Management Zones.

    Mar 30, 1989
  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 1

    Prohibited trawl gear in the directed snapper grouper fishery south of Cape Hatteras (NC) to Cape Canaveral (FL).

    Jan 12, 1989
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 1

    Prohibited fishing in Special Management Zones (SMZ) except with hand-held hook-and-line and spearfishing gear; prohibited harvest of goliath grouper in SMZs.

    Mar 27, 1987
  • Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan

    Imposed total length limits, gear limitations, and designated modified habitats or artificial reefs as Special Management Zones.

    Aug 31, 1983