Public Hearing/Scoping Meetings Set to Address Federal Fisheries Issues

SAFMC logo South Atlantic Fishery Management Council  
News Release  
January 12, 2012 CONTACT: Kim Iverson
Public Information Officer
(843) 571-4366


Public Hearing/Scoping Meetings Scheduled to Address Federal Fisheries Issues
     Council seeks input for measures proposed for golden tilefish, spiny lobster, golden crab, plus scoping comments on use of powerheads by divers, marine protected areas, commercial and for-hire reporting, and other issues

Additional Information (public hearing and scoping documents now available)

Press Release (PDF) 

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is holding a series of six public hearings and scoping meetings regarding fisheries management measures proposed for several federally managed species. Public hearings will be held on proposed limits to the commercial golden tilefish fishery, area closures and gear markings for the commercial spiny lobster fishery, and a catch share program for the harvest of golden crab. The Council will also conduct scoping meetings for input on measures impacting the shrimp fishery in both state and federal waters, plus a series of measures proposed in the Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 3.  The measures will impact both commercial and recreational fishermen who fish in federal waters between 3 and 200 miles offshore ranging from the North Carolina/Virginia state line southward to the east coast of Florida and the Florida Keys. 

Public Hearings will be held on three separate amendments:

Amendment 18B to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan proposes limits to participation in the commercial golden tilefish fishery through the establishment of endorsements for the longline and hook and line sector, changes to the fishing year, allocations between gear sectors, modifications/establishment of trip limits, and modification to the Annual Catch Limit (ACL).

Spiny Lobster Amendment 11 for the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico includes measures to create new area closures for the commercial lobster trap fishery in federal waters off the coast of Florida to help protect staghorn and elkhorn corals from gear impacts and alternatives for commercial trap line marking requirements.

Golden Crab Amendment 6 includes alternatives for establishing a catch share program for the commercial golden crab fishery in the South Atlantic.

Informal Public Scoping comments will be taken on two amendments currently being considered by the Council:

Shrimp Amendment 9 would modify the current protocol used by individual states to request concurrent closures of federal waters during severe cold weather in order to expedite the closure process and help protect over-wintering shrimp populations. The amendment would also revise the Minimum Stock Threshold proxy for pink shrimp.

Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 3 explores options for restricting the use of powerhead gear by divers off the coast of North Carolina and throughout federal waters in the South Atlantic, expansion of deepwater coral Habitat Areas of Concern (HAPCs), establishment of mid-shelf marine protected areas (MPAs) to help protect speckled hind and warsaw grouper, the designation of a new MPA in the Florida Keys, establishing a recreational tag program for deepwater species, minimum size limits for hogfish, changes to bag/size limits for gray triggerfish, and modifications to commercial and for-hire permits and reporting requirements to ensure Annual Catch Limits are not exceeded.

The hearings/meetings will be open from 4:00 PM – 7:00 PM.  Council staff will provide periodic presentations and be on hand to answer questions.  Local Council representatives will take formal comments on the proposed measures any time between those hours.  The Council is also accepting written and email comments from January 13, 2012 until 5:00 p.m. on February 15, 2012.  Copies of the public hearing and scoping documents with details on how to submit written comments will be posted on the Council’s web site and available by contacting the Council office at 843/571-4366 or Toll Free 866/SAFMC-10.

SAFMC Public Hearing/Scoping Meeting Schedule
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM

Tuesday, January 24
Crowne Plaza
4831 Tanger Outlet Boulevard
North Charleston, SC 29418
Phone: 843/744-4422

Thursday, January 26
BridgePointe Hotel & Marina
101 Howell Road
New Bern, NC 28526
Phone: 252/636-3637

Monday, January 30
Hilton Key Largo Resort
97000 Overseas Highway
Key Largo, Florida 33037
Phone: 305/852-5553

Tuesday, January 31
Hilton Cocoa Beach
1550 North Atlantic Avenue
Cocoa Beach, FL 32931
Phone: 321/799-0003

Wednesday, February 1
Crowne Plaza Jacksonville Riverfront
1201 Riverplace Boulevard
Jacksonville, FL 32207
Phone: 904/398-8800

Thursday, February 2
Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum
175 Bourne Avenue
Pooler, Georgia 31322
Phone: 912/748-8888

Public Hearing/Scoping Meetings Set to Address Federal Fisheries Issues