South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

Three Red Snapper on ice.

Newsworthy Notes – January 12, 2023

Proposed Changes to Red Snapper Catch Levels & Use of Single Hook Rigs for the Snapper Grouper Fishery

Public Comment Period Open; In-Person Public Hearings Begin Next Week

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council is currently soliciting public comment for two actions proposed in Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 35. The amendment’s first action would modify the annual catch limit for Red Snapper to address overfishing, primarily driven by high numbers of fish in the recreational fishery released throughout the year that don’t survive. These dead fish comprise approximately 85% of the allowable removals for the fishery. Due to the high proportion of removals being dead discards, reductions in landings alone, even no allowable landings, will not end the overfishing of Red Snapper. Therefore, in order to end overfishing, the Council must also reduce dead discards.

Management measures are in place to help improve the survival of fish that are released, including the use of specified hooks, and requirements for using de-hookers and descending devices when targeting snapper grouper species. The Council has also increased outreach promoting Best Fishing Practices. To further decrease the number of discarded fish that don’t survive, the Council may decrease effective efforts in the fishery. The second action in Regulatory Amendment 35 would prohibit the use of more than one hook per line for the recreational sector when targeting snapper grouper species.

Red snapper in an icebox.
Photo: Miss Judy Charters

The Council is currently soliciting input on these measures and conducting a series of in-person public hearings that begin next week. Additional information, including a public hearing document and an online public comment form, is available here.

Snapper Grouper Regulatory 35 Public Hearings

All hearings begin at 6 PM

January 17th

Richmond Hill City Center, 520 Cedar Street

Richmond Hill, GA 31324

January 18th

Town & Country Inn and Suites, 2008 Savannah Hwy

Charleston, SC 29407

January 19th

The Crystal Coast Civic Center, 3505 Arendell Street

Morehead City, NC 28557

January 24th

Hyatt Place Jacksonville St. Johns Town Center, 4742 Town Center Parkway

Jacksonville, FL 32246

January 25th

City of Cocoa Civic Center, 430 Delannoy Ave

Cocoa, FL 32922

January 26th

Holiday Inn Key Largo, 99701 Overseas Highway

Key Largo, FL 33037

January 31

Via webinar only.

Webinar Registration

Recreational Federal Permits for the Snapper Grouper Fishery Being Considered

The Council is soliciting public comment on options to establish a federal permit for the private recreational component of the snapper grouper fishery through Snapper Grouper Amendment 46. Scoping meetings are held early in the decision-making process to get public input on options being considered. Public scoping meetings are scheduled for January 30 and February 6, 2023 via webinar. Additional information will be posted as it becomes available here.

Rocket Launches and Offshore Safety Zones Topic of Concern for Shrimp Fishermen

It isn’t every day that you get to use NASA and the word “shrimp” in the same sentence – but that’s the intent as members of the Council’s Shrimp Advisory Panel meet via webinar on January 18, 2023. The meeting agenda includes concerns about the increasing frequency of rocket launches by NASA and temporary offshore safety closures off the coast of Florida.

In order to ensure public safety, temporary Safety Zones have been established to limit all vessel access during splash down and recovery efforts, affecting local fishery operations. In addition, there are indications that some shrimp vessels have encountered space debris during trawling off the Cape Canaveral area.

Photo: NASA

The Shrimp AP meeting agenda also includes presentations on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary Restoration Blueprint and a discussion of the Proposed Rule affecting fisheries in both the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

Register now for the meeting webinar and listen to the discussions!

Fish for Dolphin Offshore of the Carolinas or Virginia? Check Out These Upcoming Stakeholder Workshops

Workshops will continue in early 2023 to solicit input on the management of Dolphin (mahi) from fishermen and other stakeholders along the Atlantic Coast. NOAA Fisheres and the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council are working together to hold these in-person workshops, targeting commercial, private recreational, for-hire fishermen, and interested community members. Similar workshops were held in Florida earlier this year.

The workshops focus on gathering information about preferences, priorities, and concerns within the Dolphin fishery. Input from these workshops will be used to help evaluate future management strategies.

Photo: Cameron Rhodes

Workshop Dates and Locations (All meetings begin at 5:30 p.m.)

Monday, January 23

SCDNR, Marine Resources Research Institute

Room 145, 217 Ft. Johnson Road

Charleston SC

Tuesday, January 24

UNCW – Center for Marine Science

5600 Marvin Moss Lane

Wilmington, NC

Wednesday, January 25

Room 242, Coastal Studies Institute

850 NC Hwy 345

Wanchese, NC

Thursday, January 26

Brock Environmental Center

3663 Marlin Bay Drive

Virginia Beach, VA

Please RSVP to: Cassidy Peterson, NOAA Fisheries, 910-708-2686, or

Additional Snippets:

NOAA Seeks Applicants for Hudson Canyon National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is in the process of considering the designation of a new national marine sanctuary in the Hudson Canyon area off the coast of New York and New Jersey. The Hudson Canyon is the largest submarine canyon along the U.S. Atlantic coast and is one of the largest in the world. NOAA is establishing an advisory council for the proposed sanctuary and seeking applicants through January 31, 2023.

$100 Million Available through the Inflation Reduction Act for Environmental Justice Grants

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has announced the availability of approximately $100 million for projects that advance environmental justice in underserved and overburdened communities across the country. This historic grant funding for environmental justice will support projects in communities overburdened by pollution and historic under-investment. Focus areas include projects addressing climate change, disaster resiliency, and/or emergency preparedness. Pre-application assistance webinars are scheduled for January 24 and 25, 2023. Learn more

Speaking of Dolphin – What Depth and Water Temperature Do Mahi-Mahi Prefer?

Satellite-tagged mahi-mahi spend about 40% of their time near the surface and 95% of their day in water 77 to 84 degrees F. That’s according to the North Carolina Sea Grant blog Hook, Line & Science. Read the post about the satellite tagging study and research findings that may help you land that next big Dolphin!

Mark Your Calendar

Keep track of meetings scheduled by the Council from the Meetings page of the website and register for meeting webinars as information becomes available. Register early and receive email reminders as the meeting date(s) approach!

January 17-19, 24-26, 31, 2023

Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 35 (Red Snapper and Release Mortality Reduction)

Public Hearings

6 p.m.

January 18, 2023

SAFMC Shrimp Advisory Panel

via webinar

1 p.m. – 3 p.m.

January 20, 2023

Scientific and Statistical Committee

via webinar

8:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.

January 30 and February 6, 2023

Snapper Grouper Amendment 46 (Recreational Permits)

Public Scoping via webinar

6 p.m.

March 6-10, 2023

SAFMC Meeting

Jekyll Island, GA