7/27/15 – SAFMC News Release: Public Hearings and Scoping Meetings Scheduled in August for Proposed Federal Fisheries Management Measures

South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                 

July 27, 2015  

Download PDF version here

For Meeting Details: Public Hearing & Scoping Page


CONTACT:  Kim Iverson

Public Information Officer

Toll Free 866/SAFMC-10 or 843/571-4366


Public Hearings and Scoping Meetings Scheduled in August for Proposed Federal Fisheries Management Measures

Designation of Spawning Special Management Zones, black sea bass pot fishery, hogfish, draft Vision Blueprint and more 

     The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is requesting public input on proposed management measures affecting several species managed through the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan. The public is encouraged to provide written comment and participate in upcoming public hearings scheduled from August 10 – 25, 2015 throughout the region. Public hearings will be held on the proposed designation of Spawning Special Management Zones (SMZs) through Amendment 36 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan.  Staff will also be colleting public input on the Draft Vision Blueprint addressing long-term management of the Snapper Grouper fishery during the Amendment 36 public hearings. A separate series of hearings will be held on Regulatory Amendment 16 addressing modifications to the commercial black sea bass pot fishery. During the hearings, Council staff will provide an overview of each draft amendment and will be available to answer questions.  Local Council members will be present to discuss issues and take formal public comment. Written comments are also being accepted.  Prior to the public hearings, informal Question and Answer webinars are scheduled for each amendment as noted below.

     The Council is also soliciting public scoping comments on management options for hogfish proposed through draft Amendment 37 as well as issues affecting recreational black sea bass regulations, commercial golden tilefish regulations, and species within the Jacks Complex as proposed in draft Regulatory Amendment 23.  A Scoping Webinar will be held Monday, August 10, 2015 beginning at 6:00 p.m. Note that registration for all meetings held via webinar is required. Additional details for both the public hearings and the scoping meeting are listed below.

Items For Public Hearing:

  Snapper Grouper Amendment 36 - Spawning Special Management Zones (SMZs)

  Q&A Webinar Wednesday, August 5, 2015 at 6:00 PM – register at safmc.net

  The amendment includes actions to:

  • Specify a process for identifying spawning sites/aggregations for snapper grouper species, including speckled hind and warsaw grouper, based on sites important for spawning (bottom topography, current systems, etc.).  A total of eleven sites are currently being considered for designation from North Carolina to the east coast of Florida and the Florida Keys.  The Council will select sites from this candidate list. Designation would prohibit fishing for or retention of snapper grouper species but would allow trolling for pelagic species such as tuna, dolphin, and billfish.
  • Revise the boundary of the Charleston Deep Reef MPA to encompass a recently deployed artificial reef.
  • Allow transit and prohibit anchoring within any newly designated Spawning SMZs.

Can’t attend a hearing? Written comments can be submitted and are due by 5:00 PM on August 31, 2015.

Public Hearing Schedule – Amendment 36 (Spawning SMZs)

4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Monday, August 10

Hilton Garden Inn

5265 International Blvd.

N. Charleston, SC 29418

           Phone: 843/308-9330

Wednesday, August 12

Murrells Inlet Community Center

4462 Murrells Inlet Road

Murrells Inlet, SC 29576

Phone: 843/651-7373

Thursday, August 13

NCDMF Central District Office

5285 Hwy 70 West

Morehead City, NC 28557

Phone: 252/726-7021

Tuesday, August 18

Public Hearing via Webinar

Starting at 6:00 PM

Registration is required

Visit safmc.net

Monday, August 24

Georgia Dept. of Natural Resources

Coastal Resources Division

One Conservation Way

Brunswick, GA 31520

Phone: 912/264-7218

Tuesday, August 25

Hilton Garden Inn

Daytona Beach Airport

189 Midway Ave.

Daytona Beach, FL 32114

Phone: 386/944-4000

Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 16 - Commercial Black Sea Bass Pots

  Q&A Webinar Monday, August 3rd at 6:00 PM – register at safmc.net

  The amendment includes measures to:

  • Modify the current November through April seasonal restriction on the use of black sea bass pots while continuing to afford protection to whales listed under the Endangered Species Act;
  • Enhance current buoy line and weak link gear requirements and buoy line rope marking for black sea bass pots required by the Atlantic Large Whale Take Reduction Plan.

Can’t attend a hearing? Written comments can be submitted and are due by 5:00 PM on August 21, 2015.

Public Hearing Schedule – Regulatory Amendment 16 (Black Sea Bass Pots)

4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Tuesday, August 11

Holiday Inn Express

722 Hwy. 17

Little River, SC 29566

           Phone: 843/281-9400

Wednesday, August 12

Comfort Suites

130 Workshop Lane

Jacksonville, NC 28546

Phone: 910/346-8900

Monday, August 17

Hull’s Seafood Market

111 West Granada Blvd.

Ormond Beach, FL 32174

Phone: 386/677-1511

For Public Scoping:

Both amendments listed below will be presented for scoping during a webinar to be held on Monday, August 10th at 6:00 PM.  Registration is required. Details for registration and scoping materials are available from the Public Hearing and Scoping Meeting page of the Council’s website at safmc.net/cms.

  • Snapper Grouper Amendment 37 – Management options for hogfish including a rebuilding plan for the Florida Keys/East Florida stock that includes reductions in harvest for both commercial and recreational fisheries.
  • Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 23 – Includes options for increasing the current 5 fish per person/day recreational bag limit for black sea bass, changing the fishing year start date for the commercial hook-and-line golden tilefish fishery, and establishing a commercial trip limit for the Jacks Complex.

Can’t attend the scoping webinar? Written comments can be submitted and are due by August 17, 2015.

Vision Blueprint for the Snapper Grouper Fishery 

Council staff will be on hand during the public hearings for Amendment 36 (see schedule above) to talk informally about proposed long-term goals and strategies contained in the draft Vision Blueprint for the snapper grouper fishery. Additional information, including copies of draft documents, presentations, and much more is available from the Visioning Project page at safmc.net/cms.

Learn More

Summary documents, video presentations, and other materials for the amendments will be posted on the Public Hearing and Scoping Meeting page of the Council’s website at safmc.net/cms as they become available Written comments are also being accepted on all of the amendments listed above.  Instructions for submitting comments, including email comments, and comment deadlines are available from the website.