4/06/2017- SAFMC News Release: Upcoming Meetings Will Address Federal Fisheries Management Issues


March 10, 2017
(PDF - click here)

Kim Iverson/843-571-4366/kim.iverson@safmc.net


Upcoming Meetings Will Address Federal Fisheries Management Issues

Advisory panels provide grassroot input; Scientists convene in late April; Spiny lobster public hearing in May


Fishermen and others interested in federal fishery management issues will want to mark their calendars for upcoming meetings that may affect fishing for snapper grouper, mackerel, cobia, dolphin and wahoo, as well as policies affecting essential fish habitat and ecosystem-based management and the harvest of spiny lobster. The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold several advisory panel meetings as well as a meeting of the Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and the SSC Socio-Economic Panel in the coming weeks. A public hearing for issues affecting spiny lobster will be held via webinar in May.

The Council’s advisory panel members, representing recreational fishermen, charter captains, commercial fishermen, seafood dealers and others knowledgeable about fisheries issues, provide grassroot input into the fishery management process. The Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and Socio-Economic Panel are responsible for reviewing the scientific basis of Council management plans and actions and developing fishing level recommendations in accordance with national fisheries guidelines. Members of the SSC include stock assessment scientists, economists, biologists, sociologists, and others knowledgeable about fisheries in the South Atlantic.

Additional information about the meetings is listed below, including meeting agendas, overviews, and briefing book materials are posted on the Council’s website (see details below). Members of the public are invited to attend all meetings and encouraged to participate in the spiny lobster public hearing via webinar. The SSC and advisory panel meetings will also be accessible online via webinar as they occur. Webinar registration is required and details are posted on the meeting pages of the website.


Advisory Panel Meeting Agenda Highlights

Meeting Materials: The AP meeting materials and registration information is now available at: https://safmc.net/safmc-meetings/current-advisory-panel-meetings/.

Meeting Locations: With the exception of the Habitat Advisory Panel and Law Enforcement Advisory Panel, all of the following advisory panel meetings will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4831 Tanger Outlet Blvd., North Charleston, SC 29418, phone: 843/744-4422.


April 17-19, 2017 – Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel Meeting 

  • Red snapper management options to reduce discards, improve the survival of released fish, and improve recreational reporting (Amendment 43)
  • Vision Blueprint Regulatory Amendment 26 (Recreational) – measures include modifications to aggregate bag limits, reducing minimum size limits for black sea bass and gray triggerfish and changes to the current spawningseason closure for shallow-water grouper •
  • Vision Blueprint Regulatory Amendment 27 (Commercial) -measures include options for split seasons, shallow-water grouper season closure, and trip limits for the Jacks complex
  • Limited-entry for the for-hire (charter) fishery


April 19-20, 2017 – Mackerel Cobia and Cobia Sub-Panel Advisory Panel Meeting

  • Updates on Atlantic cobia recreational fishing season, upcoming stock assessment, and ongoing cobia research
  • Atlantic Spanish mackerel – possible limited entry for federal commercial permits, and gillnet endorsements
  • King mackerel – latent commercial permits, Atlantic king mackerel trip limits on Spanish mackerel gillnet trips


April 21, 2017 – Dolphin Wahoo Advisory Panel Meeting

  • Dolphinfish Research Program presentation
  • Update on South Atlantic Council actions including recent changes to commercial trip limits for dolphin and the status of electronic reporting requirements for charter vessels.
  • AP input on management options including the definition of Optimum Yield for dolphin, management of annual

catch limits, allowable gear in the commercial fishery for dolphin and wahoo, and operator card requirements.


May 16-17, 2017 – Habitat Protection and Ecosystem-Based Management Advisory Panel Meeting

  • Continued development of the Council’s Fishery Ecosystem Plan II • Draft Essential Fish Habitat Policy Statement for Artificial Reefs • Presentation by the Sargasso Sea Commission

Meeting Location: Town & Country Inn, 2008 Savannah Highway, Charleston, SC 29407, Phone: 843/571-



May 18-19, 2017 – Law Enforcement Advisory Panel Meeting

  • Updates on recent Council actions and the electronic reporting pilot program for charter vessels • Possible changes to Operator Permits to improve utility • Enforcement of fishery closures • Retention of recreational bag limits when citations are issues and other issues. Meeting Location: Town & Country Inn, 2008 Savannah Highway, Charleston, SC 29407, Phone: 843/571-1000.


Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) and Social & Economic Sub-Panel Meeting

April 24 – April 27, 2017

      Analysis of fishing behavior, a socio-economic analysis of the snapper grouper fishery, and economic and social indicators of stock abundance top the agenda for a meeting of the Social & Economic Sub-panel of the Council’s SSC beginning on April 24th.  Members of the SSC will then convene for the next three days to discuss scientific issues affecting the upcoming stock assessment for vermilion snapper, golden tilefish projections, approaches for obtaining an acceptable biological catch for red snapper, black sea bass bag and size limit analysis, and uncertainty in the Marine Recreational Information Program estimates and discuss a possible joint meeting of the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council’s SSCs in the future to address these estimates. Public comment will be accepted during the SSC meeting and the meeting is available via webinar. Registration is required. Additional information will be posted at: https://safmc.net/safmc-meetings/scientific-and-statistical-committee-meetings/ as it becomes available. Meeting location: Town & Country Inn, 2008 Savannah Highway, Charleston, SC 29407; phone 843/571-1000.


Spiny Lobster Regulatory Amendment 4 Public Hearing via Webinar

May 9, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.

   Spiny lobster in federal waters from North Carolina to Texas are managed jointly by the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Fishery Management Councils. The South Atlantic Council will hold a public hearing via webinar to address management measures proposed in Regulatory Amendment 4 to the Spiny Lobster Fishery Management Plan. Actions in the amendment address biological parameters such as acceptable biological catch (ABC) for spiny lobster in both the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico following a recent stock assessment.  The amendment would also prevent the use of lobster traps for recreational harvest in federal waters in the South Atlantic. Additional information, including webinar registration and public hearing documents and presentations will be posted at: https://safmc.net/safmc-meetings/public-hearing-and-scoping-meeting-schedule/ by April 25, 2017.



The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, one of eight regional councils, conserves and manages fish stocks from three to 200 miles offshore of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and east Florida.