South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

Newsworthy Notes – December 15, 2022

December Council Meeting Information Available Online

Mark your calendar now for public hearings in January

The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meeting in North Carolina covered a broad range of topics as the Council addressed federal fishery management issues. The Council held meetings of its Snapper Grouper Committee, Mackerel Cobia Committee, Outreach and Communications Committee, and meetings of the Full Council throughout the week. A public comment session was also held on Wednesday.

Information about the meeting, including reports from the individual committee meetings is available from the December 2022 Council meeting website page. A news release summarizing the meeting week is also available.

January Public Hearings

During its meeting, the Council approved public hearings scheduled for two amendments in January 2023. Hearings will be held first via webinar for Snapper Grouper Amendment 53 addressing proposed management measures for Gag and Black Grouper. In-person hearings will be held toward the end of the month for Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 35, which addresses catch levels for Red Snapper and proposed measures to help reduce release mortality in the recreational snapper grouper fishery.

Snapper Grouper Amendment 53- Gag and Black Grouper

January 10 and 11 via webinar

6 p.m.

Webinar Registration

Snapper Grouper Regulatory Amendment 35 – Red Snapper Catch Levels and Snapper Grouper Release Mortality Reduction

January 17-19, 2023 in Pooler, GA, Charleston, SC and Morehead City, NC

January 24-26, 2023 in Jacksonville, Cocoa Beach, and Key Largo, FL

Details will be posted at as they become available.

SAFMC Request for Proposals: Citizen Science Program Evaluation and Stakeholder Assessment

The Council is seeking a contractor to study and document the interests, motivations, and concerns of fishermen who might participate in the SAFMC’s growing Citizen Science Program. The Council’s Citizen Science Program involves fishermen, scientists, and managers in the design and support of projects that address research needs identified by the Council. For many fisheries in the South Atlantic, there are long-standing data needs and limited resources for data collection.

But what drives fishermen to participate in such projects? What motivates them to remain involved? Preliminary research with a small number of commercial, for-hire, and private recreational fishermen in the South Atlantic suggests that some feel that additional data will not improve stocks or ease current restrictions, and some feel that data won’t be used by scientists and managers. More research is needed – in particular, research on the interests, motivations, and willingness of fishermen to participate in data collection. The Council is seeking a contractor to design and complete research to better understand the fishermen’s participant base. See the Request for Proposals for details. Proposals must be submitted by Wednesday, January 4, 2023. 

A collage of Citizen Science program projects.

SAFMC Seminar Series: NOAA’s Recent Deep-Sea Coral-Related Research, Exploration, and Mapping in the U.S. South Atlantic

Tuesday, January 10, 2023. 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. via webinar

The Council’s Seminar Series begins the new year with a presentation from NOAA sharing highlights of research funded by NOAA’s Deep-Sea Coral Research and Technology Program between 2016 and 2019, and exploration and mapping conducted by NOAA Ocean Exploration in the South Atlantic Region.

Highlights include a summary of discoveries from nine expeditions to collect seafloor imagery, including the largest known deep-sea coral reef province in the world, and major mapping advances on the Blake Plateau and surrounding areas. The webinar is open to the public. A question and answer session will follow the presentation to allow the opportunity for members of the public to participate in the discussion. Visit the Council’s website for registration information and additional information about the SAFMC Seminar Series, including access to earlier presentations.

Photo: NOAA OE

Dolphin Stakeholder Workshops Scheduled for SC, NC and VA in January

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

50 Years: Celebrating the History of the Southeast Region Headboat Survey

The Southeast Region Headboat Survey, conducted by NOAA Fisheries continues to be the longest-running saltwater recreational fishing survey in the Southeast Atlantic. The survey includes an average of 140 vessels split between the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico and is one of the main sources of recreational, fishery-independent data for more than 350 reef and pelagic species in our region.

Learn more about the program and its history as NOAA Fisheries celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Southeast Region Headboat Survey!

Photo: NOAA Fisheries

Additional Snippets:

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries Invite Public Input on Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument Management Plan

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and NOAA Fisheries are seeking public input to guide the future management of the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument. Located 130 miles east-northeast off the coast of Cape Cod, this is the first marine monument in the Atlantic and is renowned for its rich and unique biodiversity. Learn more

Do MPAs Matter for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaption?

Marine protected areas (MPAs) are increasingly being promoted as an ocean-based climate solution. These claims are controversial, however, because the literature on the climate benefits of MPAs is diffuse and poorly synthesized. Join the discussion as the NOAA National MPA Center and Open Communications for the Ocean (OCTO) hosts a webinar on Tuesday, January 17th at 11 a.m. to address this topic. Webinar Registration

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 10, 2023

SAFMC Seminar Series: NOAA’s Recent Deep-Sea Coral-Related Research, Exploration, and Mapping in the U.S. South Atlantic

Webinar Registration

January 10 and 11, 2023

Snapper Grouper Amendment 53 (Gag and Black Grouper)

Public Hearings via webinar

6 p.m.