Scientific & Statistical Committee Scheduled to Meet to Review Federal Fisheries Issues

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council's Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) will meet October 22-24, 2013 in North Charleston, South Carolina to provide recommendations to the Council regarding several federally managed species including Spanish mackerel, blueline tilefish, and snowy grouper.  Other agenda items include a review of the current Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) stock assessment schedule and a long-term assessment planning process proposed by the Council, an update on the Southeast Fisheries Independent Sampling (SEFIS) program that includes video monitoring, stock assessment techniques for data poor stocks, and a review of a recreational tag program under development by the Council.

The meeting will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4831 Tanger Outlet Boulevard, North Charleston, SC 29418.  The meeting is open to the public and there will be two opportunities for attendees to provide public comment during the meeting.  Participants can listen 'live' to the meeting via webinar. Information on how to register for the webinar, as well as the meeting agenda and briefing book materials, is available from the Council's website.  Written comments for consideration by the SSC may be submitted to the Council office and must be received by 12:00 pm on Tuesday, October 15, 2013.  Written comments may be mailed to the Council office at 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, N. Charleston, SC 29405 or sent via email to


During its meeting, members of the SSC will review recent stock assessments for blueline tilefish and snowy grouper and provide fishing level recommendations.  The committee will also review completed stock projections for South Atlantic Spanish mackerel and revisit committee recommendations for the Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC).  The most recent stock assessment, completed in December 2012, shows the South Atlantic Spanish mackerel stock is healthy.  It is not overfished or undergoing overfishing, the biomass is high, and harvest is relatively low.  As a result, the Council is asking the SSC to reconsider its current ABC recommendation for Spanish mackerel and choose a less risk-averse approach that would allow for stable landings and enable the Council to implement constant regulations to provide stability to the fishery.


The Council has also been concerned about the data going into stock assessments and the amount of uncertainty in the assessments attributed to the lack of adequate biological sampling.  During its September 2013 meeting, the Council received a report from NOAA Fisheries Southeast Fishery Science Center highlighting that many of the species sampled in the South Atlantic are under sampled, with some achieving less than 10% of their target sampling level. As a result, the Council has asked the SSC to review current biological sampling targets and provide guidance on appropriate methods for allocating sampling efforts in the South Atlantic.


The SSC will cover additional agenda items during the 3-day meeting in North Charleston. A complete listing of agenda items and a comprehensive agenda overview is available from the Council's website or by contacting the Council office.


The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will review the SSC's Report and consider recommendations during its December 2-6, 2013 meeting in Wilmington, North Carolina.  The December Council meeting agenda and briefing book materials will be posted at as they become available.


To provide recommendations to the Council regarding several federally managed species including Spanish mackerel, blueline tilefish, and snowy grouper.