Public Hearings Scheduled for Marine Protected Areas

SAFMC logo South Atlantic Fishery Management Council  
News Release  
August 18, 2006 CONTACT: Kim Iverson
Public Information Officer
(843) 571-4366

Public Hearings Scheduled for Proposed Marine Protected Areas 

Areas to aid in management of deepwater snapper grouper species


The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is holding a series of 8 public hearings to solicit public comment on Amendment 14 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan.  The amendment would establish 8 marine protected areas in federal waters in the South Atlantic.  The MPAs are being considered to protect a portion of the population and habitat of long-lived, slow growing deepwater snapper grouper species (snowy grouper, misty grouper, specked hind, yellowedge grouper, warsaw grouper, golden tilefish, and blueline tilefish) from directed fishing pressure. 


Proposed as “Type II” MPAs, fishing for or possession of snapper grouper species would be prohibited in the areas, but fishermen would be allowed to troll for pelagic species such as tuna, mackerel, and billfish.  Amendment 14 includes alternatives for the use of Vessel Monitoring Systems as an enforcement tool for the MPAs.   Additionally, the Council intends to work closely with NOAA Fisheries’ Highly Migratory Species Division to prohibit the use of bottom longlines by shark fishermen in the proposed areas.


Deepwater species are most vulnerable to overfishing because they live longer than 50 years, do not survive the trauma of being captured from deeper water, and they have complex life histories.  The MPAs are intended to be used in concert with traditional management measures (bag limits, trip limits, size limits, etc.) to enhance the optimum size and age structure of these slow-growing, long-lived species.  In addition, the proposed MPAs are intended to serve as a nursery area and refuge for deepwater species during various developmental stages.  The sites under consideration are the result of a collaborative approach, representing years of planning and recommendations from advisory panels and public input through workshops, scoping meetings, and informational hearings.


Public hearings will be held in coastal areas in the southeast, beginning on September 5, 2006 and concluding with a final hearing during the Council's September 18-22, 2006 meeting in Hilton Head, South Carolina.  The Council is expected to take final action to approve Amendment 14 during the December 4-8, 2006 meeting in Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. 


Written comments for Amendment 14 are being accepted by the Council until September 29, 2006.  Copies of the public hearing document are now available on the MPA Information Page, or may be obtained from the Council office.  Comments should be addressed to: Bob Mahood, Executive Director, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council,

One Southpark Circle, Suite 306, Charleston, SC29407-4699.

Email comments to:





All hearings are scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m.



September 5, 2006

Hampton Inn

678 Citadel Haven Drive

Charleston, SC29414

Phone: 843/573-1200


September 6, 2006

Baywatch Resort

2701 S. Ocean Boulevard

N. Myrtle Beach, SC29582



September 7, 2006

Holiday Inn Sunspree

1706 N. Lumina Avenue

Wrightsville Beach, NC28480



September 11, 2006

Holton’s Seafood Restaurant

13711 East Oglethorpe Highway

Midway, GA 31320

Phone: 912/884-9151


September 12, 2006

Hampton Inn St.


430 A1A Beach Boulevard

St. Augustine, FL32080



September 13, 2006

Hutchinson Island Marriott

555 N.E. Ocean Boulevard

Stuart, FL34996



September 14, 2006

Islander Resort

MM 82.1 Oceanfront

Islamorada, FL33036



September 19, 2006

Westin Hilton Head

2 Grasslawn Avenue

Hilton Head, SC29928




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

Public Hearings Scheduled for Proposed Marine Protected Areas