Federal Fishery Managers Hold Meetings of Public Interest

SAFMC logo South Atlantic Fishery Management Council  
News Release  
March 23, 2012 CONTACT: Kim Iverson
Public Information Officer
(843) 571-4366

Federal Fishery Managers Hold Meetings of Public Interest

Formatted Version (PDF)

If you fish in federal waters more than three miles off the South Atlantic coast, chances are there is a meeting scheduled in the coming weeks regarding federal fisheries that is of interest to you.  Please see the list below and mark your calendars.  All meetings are open to the public.  Note that all of the advisory panel meetings and a marine protected area workshop will be held in North Charleston, SC at the Hilton Garden Inn, 5265 International Blvd., North Charleston, SC 29418; Hotel phone (843) 308-9330. Additional information, including meeting agendas, overviews and briefing book materials are posted on the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Web site at safmc.net/cms as they become available.

April 3-5 – SAFMC Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) Meeting
The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold a 3-day meeting of its SSC in Savannah, GA beginning at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, 2012.  The SSC is the body responsible for ensuring the Council’s regulatory actions are based on the best scientific information available and establishing allowable biological catch levels as outlined in the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act.  The SSC will meet to review the fishery management plan amendments currently under development, the proposed approaches for protecting specked hind and Warsaw grouper, current landings and Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) levels for managed stocks including the effects of revised recreational catch estimates, ABC control rule approaches, research priorities, peer review procedures, and planning for updates to stock assessments for vermilion snapper and red porgy. Meeting location: Hilton Savannah DeSoto, 15 East Liberty Street, Savannah, GA 31401.

April 18-19 – Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel Meeting
The Council will hold a meeting of its Snapper Grouper AP to provide input on amendments to fishery management plans currently under development.  The amendments include measures to implement an endorsement program for the commercial golden tilefish fishery through Amendment 18B to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan and Amendment 20 addressing the current Individual Transferable Quota (ITQ) program for wreckfish.  In addition, the AP will review proposed measures to create and/or expand existing marine protected areas to help provide protection for speckled hind and Warsaw grouper, as proposed in the Council’s Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 3.  Public scoping meetings were held earlier this year on the draft amendment.  The Council removed several management options from the amendment during its March meeting, including options to prohibit the use of powerhead gear by divers and increase the minimum size limits for hogfish and gray triggerfish.  The AP will provide recommendations to the Council for consideration. 

April 18 – Marine Protected Area Workshop – 6:00 PM
In conjunction with the Snapper Grouper AP meeting, the Council will host a public workshop in order to solicit input regarding the use of MPAs to reduce bycatch mortality associated with speckled hind and Warsaw grouper.  The Council has requested that a deepwater species closure (for waters greater than 240 feet) implemented in January 2011 be removed after data indicated that the closure may not significantly reduce bycatch of these two species while the socioeconomic impacts are significant in some areas. The current regulations remain in place until a decision has been reached by the Secretary of Commerce. Both speckled hind and Warsaw grouper are highly susceptible to overfishing, and because they are caught in deeper waters, few survive when captured and released.  The Council is considering using MPAs, including expansion of current deepwater MPAs and options for additional mid-shelf areas, to help address bycatch mortality.  This is the first in a series of five workshops planned in the coming months.  Details will be publicized as they become available. The workshop will take place at the same location as the Snapper Grouper AP meeting.
April 20 – Joint Shrimp Advisory Panel and Deepwater Shrimp Advisory Panel Meeting
The APs will meet to review measures in Shrimp Amendment 9 that include streamlining the concurrent closure process of the penaeid shrimp fishery when necessary and management parameters for pink shrimp. Members will receive a briefing on issues related to Atlantic sturgeon which were recently listed as endangered.  The APs will also review options for expansion of Deepwater Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPC) as included in the Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment and provide their recommendations.

April 24 – Dolphin Wahoo Advisory Panel Meeting
Members of the Dolphin Wahoo AP will meet for a half day to review revised numbers for recreational landings of dolphin and wahoo through the Marine Recreational Information Program and discuss allocation issues.

April 24-25 – King and Spanish Mackerel Advisory Panel Meeting
The Mackerel AP will meet beginning at 1:30 p.m. to review management options proposed in draft Amendments 19 and 20 to the Coastal Migratory Pelagic Fishery Management Plan.  Options include a prohibition on the sale of bag-limit king mackerel, Spanish mackerel and cobia and management authority for cobia along the east coast of Florida. The AP will also review a list of framework items.

May 9-10 – Coral Advisory Panel Meeting
The Coral AP will meet to review options for expansion of Deepwater Coral Habitat Areas of Concern (HAPC) as included in the Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment and other issues relevant to coral management.  The AP will provide recommendations to the Council for consideration.

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.

Federal Fishery Managers Hold Meetings of Public Interest