South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

Newsworthy Notes – November 16th, 2023

Council to Meet December 4-8, 2023 in Beaufort, NC

Meetings open to the public and available via webinar

Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold their next meeting on December 4-8, 2023 at the Beaufort Hotel in Beaufort, NC. During the week-long meeting, the Council will convene meetings of the following committees: Mackerel Cobia, Dolphin Wahoo, Snapper Grouper, Citizen Science, Habitat and Ecosystem, and SEDAR (Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review). There will also be meetings of the Full Council.

The meeting is open to the public and available via webinar as it occurs. Meeting materials, including agendas/overviews, presentations, and an online comment form will be available from the Council’s website by Friday, November 17, 2023 Register now to attend via webinar and receive email reminders as the meeting date approaches.

The Council will hold a public comment session at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6th as part of the meeting. Members of the public are invited to comment on any agenda item. Public comment will also be accepted at that time via webinar. Registration information will be available from the Council’s website.

An online public comment form will also be posted with the meeting briefing materials. The comments are available to the Council and members of the public as they are posted.

Share Your Historic Fishing Photos with the FISHstory Project

Bring your historic fishing photos to the December Council meeting to share with the FISHstory project. Council staff will be on hand during the Council meeting on Wednesday to scan hard copies of your photos from the 1940s-1980s and gather background information. All photos will be returned. Photos need to:

  • Be taken at the end of trips where fishermen are displaying their catch
  • Have a known year and location
  • Include a vessel name, if possible

A project of the Council’s Citizen Science Program, FISHstory uses historic fishing photos to document the catch and size of fish from a time before catch monitoring programs were in place. Help this project grow by sharing your photos! Questions? Contact Julia Byrd, Citizen Science Program Manager, or 843-302-8439.

Council’s Citizen Science Projects Featured in November Issue of Florida Sportsman

The need for better fisheries data is the focus of this month’s Call to Action column in Florida Sportsman – and two of the Council’s Citizen Science Program’s projects are highlighted as a means for fishermen to contribute to data collection. Editor Blair Wickstrom notes that both FISHstory and SAFMC Release provide ways in which fishermen can immediately help fill in data gaps or provide information.

“As anglers, we have a chance to supply fishery managers in the Gulf and South Atlantic more accurate and comprehensive information,” explains Wickstrom. “With over one million saltwater anglers in the state of Florida, we need to become the ultimate “crowdsourcing” fishery data collection machine in the country.”

Through the Council’s Citizen Science Program, you can use your fishing experience to provide key insight into South Atlantic fisheries. FISHstory is helping to fill data gaps through the use of historic fishing photos. If you have fishing photos from the 1940s-1980s, consider sharing them with the project! SAFMC Release allows fishermen the opportunity to provide information through the SciFish mobile app. Using the free mobile app, fishermen can provide information on released shallow water grouper and Red Snapper. Data collected through the project provide valuable insight into the snapper grouper fishery and may help inform assessments and management.

Check out the Florida Sportsman Editorial and learn more about the Council’s Citizen Science Program by visiting the Council’s website. As noted in the editorial, “we need a crowd”!

Hold a Federal Permit? Know the Reporting Requirements

Keeping up with permits and reporting requirements can be a challenge, especially for fishermen holding dual permits in some fisheries along the Atlantic coast or South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. NOAA Fisheries recently distributed a Fishery Bulletin reminding federal permit holders and operators of commercial and for-hire permits in the Southeast region of reporting requirements, including some examples for when a vessel holds multiple permits. The Fishery Bulletin includes:

  • South Atlantic Commercial and For-Hire Federal Permits for Snapper Grouper, Coastal Migratory Pelagics, and Atlantic Dolphin Wahoo
  • Gulf of Mexico Commercial and For-Hire Federal Permits for Reef Fish and Coastal Migratory Pelagics.

For additional information on permits and requirements, visit:

Marine Resource Education Program Southeast

Fishermen from Texas to North Carolina gathered this week (November 14-17) in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida to participate in the Marine Resource Education Program (MREP) Southeast Workshop. Program participants include private recreational anglers, charter captains, commercial fishermen, and others interested in getting more involved in federal fisheries. This year’s workshop combined the “science” and “management” portions of the program into a week-long session. In years past, separate, shorter workshops were dedicated to each component. Three Council staff members attended this week’s workshop and assisted with facilitation.

Designed by fishermen for fishermen, MREP is a neutral platform designed to education fishermen about federal fisheries management outside of the regulatory process. During the workshop participants learn the nuts and bolts of marine fisheries science and management, demystify acronyms and vocabulary, gain tools an insights into effective engagement in regional fisheries, and connect with key regional fishery science and management experts.

Applicants are solicited annually. Learn more about MREP and apply to participate in the program in 2024.

Additional Snippets:

Assessing Vulnerability of Fish and Invertebrates to Climate Change in the Southeast

New NOAA-led research reveals species in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic that may be most vulnerable or more resilient to climate change, as well as the reasons why. NOAA Fisheries published two new assessments of climate vulnerability for fish and invertebrates in the Gulf of Mexico and South Atlantic Large Marine Ecosystems. See the Feature Article from NOAA Fisheries to learn more.

Deadline Extended on a Request for Proposals on Innovative Strategies to Reduce Red Snapper Discards in the South Atlantic – Proposals Due November 20, 2023

NOAA Fisheries is extending the deadline to submit proposals on innovative strategies to reduce red snapper discards in the South Atlantic. The previous deadline was November 6, 2023. The agency intends to fund projects that explore new approaches to better understand and reduce red snapper dead discards and increase fishing opportunities in the snapper-grouper fishery. There are up to $880,000 in federal funds available for projects in fiscal year 2024. Learn more

Ocean Warming: More Than Just Corals and Sea Level Rise

If 2023 becomes the hottest year on record globally, it will be because of the oceans. The much warmer water in the Atlantic Ocean this summer, combined with the periodic warming of the central and eastern Pacific – known as El Nino – have sent ocean temperatures to levels unprecedented in human civilization. See this article in the Daily Progress that includes a conversation with Rick Spinrad, oceanographer and current NOAA Administrator.

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!

December 4-8, 2023

Council Meeting

Beaufort, NC

Council Meetings