SSC Meeting Begins Next Week

SAFMC logo South Atlantic Fishery Management Council  
News Release  
October 18, 2012 CONTACT: Kim Iverson
Public Information Officer
(843) 571-4366


Scientific and Statistical Committee Meeting Begins Next Week
     Advisors to provide fishing level recommendations and other guidance used for management

News Release (Formatted PDF)

Meeting Agendas and Materials    

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Scientific and Statistical Committee will meet next week in North Charleston, South Carolina to provide recommendations to the Council regarding several federally managed species including vermilion snapper, red porgy, yellowtail snapper, black sea bass, and red snapper.  Other agenda items include improvements to fishery data collection, modifications to current annual catch limits, and allocations. Members of the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) will meet October 23-25, 2012 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4831 Tanger Outlet Boulevard, N. Charleston, SC 29418.  The SSC’s Socio-Economic Subpanel will meet on Monday, October 22nd beginning at 1:00 p.m. 

Members of the SSC will review the 2012 stock assessment updates for vermilion snapper and red porgy. Both vermilion snapper and red porgy are commonly targeted by commercial and recreational fishermen. The vermilion snapper commercial fishery recently closed after reaching its Annual Catch Limit (quota), and there is an annual recreational closure in place for vermilion snapper from November 1 through March 31.  The last assessment update for vermilion snapper, conducted in 2007, determined the stock is not overfished or undergoing overfishing.  The red porgy stock is currently under a rebuilding plan with strict harvest limits imposed on commercial and recreational fishermen since 2006.  The SSC will provide fishing level recommendations for both species.

The SSC will apply the Acceptable Biological Catch (ABC) control rule to the 2011 black sea bass assessment to develop a probability of stock rebuild for consideration by the Council.  Prior ABC recommendations were based on a 50% chance that the stock will rebuild in the time allotted.   The Council approved a more conservative rebuilding plan for black sea bass through Amendment 18A to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan, implemented July 1, 2012, and since asked the SSC to provide further guidance on the rebuilding criteria.

In addition, the SSC will provide recommendations for the following amendments currently scheduled for approval by the Council during its December 3-7, 2012 meeting:

Comprehensive Ecosystem-Based Amendment 3 - Data Collection Improvements – The amendment includes improvements to data collection methods to help ensure annual catch limits are not exceeded in South Atlantic fisheries.  Proposed actions in the amendment would modify permits, increase data reporting (for-hire and commercial sectors), improve bycatch monitoring, and require the use of a Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS) for the commercial snapper grouper fishery.

Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 13 - Adjustments to Annual Catch Limits Using Recreational Data Updates – Based on updated numbers from the Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP), the Council is developing the regulatory amendment to adjust allocation outcomes and annual catch limits for unassessed species in the snapper grouper management unit. 

Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 15 - Yellowtail Snapper and Shallow-water Grouper – The amendment would adjust the ABC and subsequent Annual Catch Limits (ACL) for yellowtail snapper based on the new stock assessment.  The assessment indicated the stock is healthy and the limits may be increased.  Regulatory Amendment 15 may also establish a spawning season closure for yellowtail snapper and modify the commercial and recreational fishing year.  The amendment also includes measures to address the current Accountability Measure for gag grouper that implements a commercial closure of all shallow-water species once the commercial ACL for gag is met.

Snapper Grouper Amendment 28 – Red Snapper Harvest – The 2012 “mini-season” for red snapper was allowed via an emergency rule that will expire. This amendment includes alternatives for calculating the ACL for red snapper in future years and establishes a process for continued limited harvest of red snapper.

Agenda items for the SSC’s Socio-Economic Subpanel meeting include Regulatory Amendment 13, a discussion of recreational tag programs, and methods used for determining allocations between recreational and commercial fishermen. The subpanel includes both social scientists and economists who provide advice through the SSC to the Council regarding social and economic impacts of regulatory actions.  

The public will have two opportunities to comment on agenda items during the SSC meeting.  The first at the start of the meeting, and the final will be provided at the end during the review of recommendations.  Those wishing to do so should indicate their desire to do so to the Committee Chair.  The meetings will be available to the public online as they occur.  Information regarding how to register for the live-stream is available from the meeting information page on the Council's website.  The page also includes meeting agendas, overviews, and briefing book materials.

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will review the SSC Report and consider recommendations during its December 3-7, 2012 meeting in Wilmington, North Carolina.  The December Council meeting agenda and briefing book materials will be posted as they become available.

Scientific and Statistical Committee Meeting Begins Next Week