South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

A marina and two boats at sunset in Jekyll Island, Georgia.

Newsworthy Notes – February 16th, 2024

Council to Meet March 4-8, 2024 in Jekyll Island, GA

Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold their next meeting March 4-8, 2024 on Jekyll Island, Georgia. The meeting will be held at the Villas by the Sea Resort and is open to the public. The meeting will also be available via webinar as it occurs.

The meeting week begins on Monday at 1:30 p.m. with a meeting of the full Council. The Council will also hold meetings of its Mackerel Cobia Committee, Southeast Data, Assessment and Review (SEDAR) Committee, and Snapper Grouper Committee during the week. The meeting is scheduled to conclude on Friday at 12 p.m. with an additional meeting of the full Council.

Meeting information, including the agenda and overview, presentations, and an online public comment form will be posted on the Council’s website. Public comment, both in person and via webinar, will also be taken during the meeting beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, March 6th.

NOAA Fisheries Recommends Funding Projects to Explore Innovative Strategies to Reduce Red Snapper Discards and Increase Fishing Opportunities in the South Atlantic

Projects are being considered for funding with further review before awards are approved

NOAA Fisheries announced this week its recommendations for five projects for funding to explore new, innovative approaches to better understand and reduce Red Snapper dead discards, and increase fishing opportunities in the South Atlantic snapper grouper fishery. The funding totals $879,211.

The Fishery Bulletin issued by NOAA Fisheries Southeast Regional Office, acknowledges the challenges and frustrations of the short fishing seasons for Red Snapper and high levels of dead discards. While population assessments indicate the stock is recovering, it continues to experience too much fishing mortality as a result of the number of fish that are released and subsequently die.

In September 2023, NOAA Fisheries requested proposals under a Notice of Funding Opportunity for projects that explore new approaches and proposals were accepted through November 20, 2023. A total of five projects have been recommended for funding with three of the projects proposed by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, one by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources, and one by Mote Marine Laboratory, LLC.

See the Fishery Bulletin from NOAA Fisheries for a listing of the projects and additional details.

A red snapper is measured on a boat deck.

2024 Sea Grant Reef Fish Webinar Series Concludes on February 27th

Tuesday, February 13th and February 27th at 6 p.m.

The final in a series of three seminars will be held Tuesday, February 27th at 6 p.m. with a focus on the Greater Amberjack Count. Join Dr. Sean Powers and Dr. Mark Albins with the University of South Alabama as they provide an update on the Greater Amberjack Research Program. The program addresses concerns about the Greater Amberjack fisheries in the South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico.

The biweekly Sea Grant webinar series focusing on ongoing reef fish research efforts in the South Atlantic has been well received. Additional information on the series is available in this latest feature from NC Sea Grant.

Click HERE to register for the remaining webinar. Note that the presentation will be followed by a question and answer session.

NOAA Fisheries Requests Public Comment on a Control Date for Federal Charter Vessel/Headboat (For-Hire) of the Atlantic Coastal Migratory Pelagics, Atlantic Dolphin and Wahoo, and South Atlantic Snapper Grouper Fisheries

On February 8, 2024, NOAA Fisheries published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking to set a control date of December 8, 2023, for the federal charter vessel/headboat (for-hire) component of the recreational sectors of the Atlantic coastal migratory pelagics, Atlantic dolphin and wahoo, and South Atlantic snapper grouper fisheries.

The Council requested this control date to inform the industry that it is considering future action to control the number of participants in these fisheries. Additionally, the Council also specified that federal for-hire permit holders that have not reported catch to the Southeast For-Hire Integrated Electronic Reporting Program (SEFHIER) in the Atlantic prior to December 5, 2023, will not be assured of future access if the Council decides to limit future participation in these fisheries.

Comments are being solicited by NOAA Fisheries through March 11, 2024. See the Fishery Bulletin from NOAA Fisheries for additional details. The Council will continue to discuss limited entry for these for-hire fisheries during its March 2024 meeting.

Additional Snippets:

Recreational Regulation Changes for Atlantic Snowy Grouper in Florida Atlantic State Waters Begin Feb. 25

Starting February 25, 2024, the Snowy Grouper recreational season in Florida will close in Atlantic state waters, including all state waters of Monroe County. The modified recreational season is May 1 through June, with a new reduced possession limit of one fish per vessel per day. These changes are consistent with regulations in adjacent Atlantic federal waters. See the Bulletin from FWC for additional details.

NOAA Fisheries Lists the Queen Conch as Threatened under the Endangered Species Act

NOAA Fisheries is announcing a final rule to list Queen Conch as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The primary threat to the Queen Conch is overutilization through commercial, recreational, and subsistence fishing and illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing. See the Fishery Bulletin for details.

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!

March 4-8, 2024

Council Meeting

Jekyll Island, GA

Council Meetings

March 26-28, 2024

Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel Meeting

Charleston, SC

Meeting Information