South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

Newsworthy Notes – December 27, 2023

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

Public Hearing Series Wraps Up January 31st at 6 p.m. via Webinar

The Council held a series of in-person public hearings from Morehead City, NC to Key Largo, FL in the past two weeks to gather public input and help answer concerns and questions as the Council continues to solicit 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 doesn’t survive. These dead fish comprise approximately 85% of the allowable removals for the fishery. In order to end overfishing, the Council must reduce the number of fish that are released and don’t survive.

The second action in Regulatory Amendment 35 would prohibit the use of more than on hook per line for the recreational sector when targeting snapper grouper species. The action is intended to decrease effective effort in the fishery and further decrease the number of fish released that don’t survive.

The Council will hold its final public hearing on the amendment via webinar on January 31, 2023 beginning at 6 p.m.

Additional information, including the webinar registration link, public hearing presentation, and an online public comment are available here

Reminder: Regulation Changes for Red Porgy Effective January 19, 2023

New management measures are now in place for Red Porgy to reduce commercial and recreational harvest. Red Porgy are overfished and experiencing overfishing, and management changes are necessary to comply with the rebuilding plan and prevent further overfishing.

Snapper Grouper Amendment 50 establishes a new stock rebuilding plan, revises the acceptable biological catch, annual catch limits, annual optimum yield, sector allocations, accountability measures and implements new regulations.

Red Porgy Regulation Changes


  • Recreational Season – Harvest allowed May 1 – June 30
  • Recreational Bag Limit = 1 fish per person per day, or 1 fish per person per trip, whichever is more restrictive


  • The commercial sector annual catch limits are currently split into two commercial fishing seasons with 30% allocated to Season 1 (January through April) and 70% allocated to Season 2 (May – December). (See the Fishery Bulletin for details on changes to annual catch limits.)
  • The commercial trip limit for Red Porgy is reduced to 15 fish for both Season 1 and Season 2

Additional details, including an FAQ, are available from the NOAA Fisheries Fishery Bulletin.

Fish Rules – Always have the latest fishing regulations at your fingertips

Fishing regulations can be complex. Fish Rules is a convenient way to get relevant fishing regulations for your current location. Learn more and download the free mobile app today!

Sign Up Now to Provide Comment – Scoping Meetings for Recreational Federal Permits are Scheduled for January 30 and February 6

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 at:

Volunteer Divers Use Latest Camera Technology to Provide Fisheries Data in New Collaborative Citizen Science Project

Size matters – especially when it comes to fisheries management. A new collaborative project SMILE (Size Matters: Innovative Length Estimate) is now underway in the Florida Keys to help collect information about fish lengths. These data are critical for fisheries stock assessments, which are used to manage ecologically and economically important marine species.

Funded through NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP), the SMILE project involves volunteer divers, innovative underwater camera technology, and the expansion of a citizen science approach to collect length data for reef fish in the South Atlantic. Learn more about SMILE and how the Council’s Citizen Science Program is involved!

Two divers in the water wearing white shirts with the REEF logo on the upper arm. One holds a large underwater camera, the other holds a pad and pencil while showing the ‘hang loose’ hand signal.
Photo: Daryl Duda

Additional Snippets:

NOAA’s Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program Launches Updated Website

NOAA’s Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program is the only federal program dedicated to understanding deep-sea coral and sponge ecosystems. The program’s updated website showcases exciting discoveries, extensive partnerships, and other resources. See amazing photos and video of corals and research as part of regional initiatives, including those here in the southeast region. Check it out at:

Mariners Weather Hazards Workshop Scheduled for March 14-16, 2023

The National Hurricane Center will host a hybrid conference in Miami, FL where mariners and folks who are responsible for safety at sea will learn about the marine forecasts and hurricane forecasts produced by the National Weather Service and National Hurricane Center, and how to access and interpret these critical weather forecasts and warnings while at sea. Participants will also have an opportunity to ask the forecasters questions and provide ideas/feedback as to how the NWS and NHC can improve their services. RegistrationQuestions? Contact Andrew Hagen, National Hurricane Center at

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 31, 2023

Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 35 (Red Snapper and Single Hook Rigs)

Public Hearing via webinar

6 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