Changes to commercial fishing seasons, trip limits, and minimum size limits effective Feb. 26, 2020
(NEWSLETTER: Winter 2020)
“We need a long-term plan.” That was the general consensus from stakeholders as the Council began developing its Vision Blueprint for the snapper grouper fishery. The process included extensive stakeholder engagement with input from recreational, commercial, and for-hire fishermen as well as industry leaders, NGOs, and agency personnel. A total of 26 port meetings involving 362 stakeholders were held from 2014-2015 as the Council went through a very deliberative process to develop the 2016-2020 Vision Blueprint for the Snapper Grouper Fishery. The Vision Blueprint addresses goals, objectives, strategies, and actions for the fishery centered around four areas: science, management, communication, and governance. Additional information, including an interactive story map is available at: https://safmc.net/useful-info/council-visioning-project/.
As a result of input received in the process of developing the Vision Blueprint, the Council began working on two regulatory amendments to address commercial and recreational needs. The new commercial regulations, implemented through Regulatory Amendment 27, are effective Feb. 26, 2020. These include:
- Modifications to commercial regulations for blueline tilefish, snowy grouper, greater amberjack, red porgy, vermilion snapper, almaco jack, other jacks complex (lesser amberjack, almaco jack, and banded rudderfish), queen snapper, silk snapper, blackfin snapper, and gray triggerfish.
- Changes to commercial fishing seasons, trip limits, and minimum size limits.
Details for the regulation changes are available from NOAA Fisheries via Fishery Bulletin 20-003. The Fishery Bulletin also includes FAQs and links to helpful documents.
Changes are also proposed for recreational fishermen targeting snapper grouper species, based on stakeholder input during the Visioning Project. Regulatory Amendment 26 includes measures to remove minimum size limits for deep water snapper species and would change the minimum size limit for gray triggerfish off the east coast of Florida from 14 inches to 12 inches fork length for consistency with Florida state regulations and federal waters off of North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. The amendment would also modifiy the current 20-fish aggregate bag limit. Amendment 26 was approved by the Council in December 2018 and is currently undergoing rulemaking, with the new regulations likely effective later this year. Learn more at: Regulatory Amendment 26.
Always Have the Latest Regulations
It’s tough keeping up with latest regulation changes. Make it easier by downloading the free Fish Rules mobile app. The app includes both state and federal regulations for the entire East coast of the U.S., photos of each species, and more! Fish Rules is available for both Apple and Android users. Simply download the app, check for updates before heading offshore, and you’ll have the regulations at your fingertips, with or without wireless service. Regulations by species, seasonal calendars, fact sheets, and other resources are also available from the Council’s website at: https://safmc.net/regulations/.