South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

Newsworthy Notes – December 4, 2023

Provide Your Comments on Federal Fisheries Issues – Council Meeting this Week in Beaufort, NC

The meeting is open to the public and available via webinar.

Join in as members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council meet this week at the Beaufort Hotel in Beaufort, NC. During the week-long meeting, the following committees will convene: 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 and presentations are available from the Council’s website now to attend via webinar or join us in Beaufort, NC this week.

Provide your comments!

An online public comment form is available from the Council’s website for providing written comments on agenda items during the meeting week. The comments are available to the Council and members of the public as they are posted.

The Council will hold a public comment session at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6th. Members of the public are invited to comment on any agenda item. Public comment will also be accepted at that time via webinar. If you are interested in providing public comment via webinar on Wednesday, please register now.

Reminder! Share Your Historic Fishing Photos with the FISHstory Project

Wednesday, December 6 | 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Bring your historic fishing photos to the December Council meeting to share with the FISHstory project. Council staff will be on hand on Wednesday to scan hard copies of your photos from the 1940s through the 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.

Taking a Bite: Shark Depredation and Fisheries Management

Shark depredation has become one of the most consistent concerns from fishermen providing public comment to the Council, especially when the topic involves snapper grouper species such as Red Snapper, as well as coastal migratory pelagics including King and Spanish Mackerel. Both commercial and recreational fishermen share their frustration of increasingly having to “pay the tax man” as sharks frequently take a bite, and sometimes the entire body of a fish before it reaches the boat.

Check out this new feature article from the Council highlighting the management issues surrounding the topic of shark depredation. Who’s responsible for shark management? What is the Council doing to address the issue of depredation? Learn more about proposed management measures for sharks, the complexity of the commercial shark industry, recent cooperative research efforts, and how you can become more involved in providing information to managers about your next encounter with the “tax man”.

New Regulations for Golden Tilefish, Blueline Tilefish, and Snowy Grouper

NOAA Fisheries recently issued Fishery Bulletins announcing regulation changes for Golden Tilefish, Blueline Tilefish, and Snowy Grouper, three deepwater species in the snapper grouper complex managed by the Council.

Golden Tilefish and Blueline Tilefish – Effective December 7

  • Annual catch limits for Golden Tilefish will increase as the stock is not overfished or undergoing overfishing.
  • The start date for the Golden Tilefish commercial longline season changes from January 1 to January 15.
  • For Blueline Tilefish, the recreational bag limit is reduced from 3 fish to 2 fish per person per day and the retention of the bag limit is prohibited by for-hire captain and crew. Recreational landings of both Blueline and Golden Tilefish have exceeded catch limits in recent years. New accountability measures are being implemented to help prevent future overages.
  • See the Fishery Bulletin for Snapper Grouper Amendment 52 Final Rule for additional details.

Golden Tilefish and Blueline Tilefish – Effective December 7

  • Annual catch limits for Snowy Grouper will decrease as the stock is overfished and undergoing overfishing.
  • The recreational season will shorten from May 1 through August 31 to May 1 through June 30.
  • Recreational accountability measures will reduce the length of the following year’s season if recreational catch limits are exceeded in a given fishing year.
  • Additional details are available in the Fishery Bulletin for the Snapper Grouper Amendment 51 Final Rule.

NOAA Fisheries Features Council’s Citizen Science Program Projects

Two of the Council’s Citizen Science Projects are featured on NOAA Fisheries’ new citizen science webpage. The webpage highlights ways volunteers from around the country can get involved in citizen science projects in their community.

The project FISHstory, collects historic dock photos taken from the South Atlantic, using them to fill data gaps in fisheries before dedicated monitoring began. Photos contributed and analyzed by citizen scientists help provide insight on changes in overall catches, seasonality of catches, and changes over time in the size of fish caught.

The NOAA Fisheries website also includes the Council’s SAFMC Release citizen science project in highlighting regional approaches across the U.S. The project involves commercial, for-hire, and recreational fishermen in collecting data on released shallow water groupers and Red Snapper using the free mobile app SciFish.

Learn more about the Council’s Citizen Science Program and how you can become involved in these two growing citizen science projects!

Additional Snippets:

NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement Releases Enforcement Priorities for 2023-2027

Enforcement is a key component to effective fisheries management. NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement recently released its Enforcement Priorities for 2023-2027. These priorities were developed through extensive stakeholder involvement and an informal public comment period. The priorities are designed to support the strategic goals of NOAA Fisheries and will focus on: (1) combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing; (2) supporting international fisheries and reducing seafood fraud; and (3) ending wildlife trafficking. Learn more about NOAA OLE.

Coastal Georgia Shrimpers Fear Loss of Industry as Foreign Seafood Crowds Market

Farmed imports glut markets cost less to edge wild-caught, local shrimp off menus.

“Just when you think it can’t get any worse, it gets worse,” said Pat Mathews, the owner of the Lazaretto Packing Company on Tybee Island, as he walked away from a truck idling in the loading zone. So begins this feature article from The Current about the impacts of imported shrimp in the local economy, the history of how the imports grew to glut the market, and a photo story of a shrimper’s day.

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