South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

The Westin at Jekyll Island.

Newsworthy Notes – March 16, 2023

March Council Meeting Follow Up

With the approval of two amendments to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan, a public hearing on measures proposed for the Wreckfish fishery, and discussion of topics ranging from beach renourishment policies to mackerel port meetings, last week’s Council meeting in Jekyll Island, Georgia was a busy one!

If you are interested in learning more about management decisions and issues discussed at the March meeting, additional information is available from the meeting page of the Council’s website: Final reports from each of the committees that met during the week are now posted along with reports from the Full Council sessions. Documents noted in the reports are included as part of the briefing book materials.

Need a quick summary? A news release is produced after each Council meeting. Curious about public comments? They are posted online as well. Transcripts from meetings are also posted to the website as they become available.

Captain Mark Phelps holds a juvenile gag grouper over green tinted water.
Photo: Captain Mark Phelps

The South Atlantic Council meets quarterly, with the March meeting held in Georiga, the June meeting in Florida, the September meeting in South Carolina, and the December meeting in North Carolina each year. The meetings are scheduled a year in advance. Briefing book materials for all meetings are posted online two weeks prior to each meeting. Learn more

Reeling in the Past: What Can We Learn from Historic Fishing Photos?

NC Sea Grant Hook, Line & Science blog features Council’s Citizen Science project

Historic fishing photos are helping unlock the history of South Atlantic fisheries. A recent blog post by North Carolina Sea Grant takes a closer look at FISHstory, one of the projects of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Citizen Science Program.

FISHstory uses historic photos to better understand the species and size of fish caught by for-hire fisheries before the start of dedicated catch monitoring programs. Volunteers help identify, count, and measure fish in historic photos. Scientists can use this information to document the beginnings of the South Atlantic for-hire fishery.

Learn more about FISHstory as featured in NC Sea Grant’s Hook, Line & Science blog and how you can get involved in sharing historic fishing photos with the project. Additional details about the Council’s Citizen Science Program are also available on the Council’s website.

Photo: Rusty Hudson

South Atlantic Red Snapper Research Program Website Now Available

Learn more about research currently underway to estimate abundance

Red Snapper management may arguably be the most controversial issue facing members of the Council. The Red Snapper stock in the South Atlantic has been estimated to be overfished since the early 1980s. Regulations aimed at rebuilding the stock have not met the necessary requirements under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to declare the stock no longer overfished, which causes challenges for natural resource managers as well as commercial and recreational fishermen.

The South Atlantic Red Snapper Research Program was created to address unknowns such as population size, distribution, and density of Red Snapper. Research began in the Fall of 2020 and will finish in the Fall of 2025. Supported financially by Sea Grant programs and NOAA Fisheries, the Research Program is lead by a team of researchers from a broad range of universities, and state and federal marine resource agencies. The research team will work cooperatively with for-hire recreational and commercial fishermen for portions of sampling efforts to accomplish research goals.

Photo: University of Florida

The research team will produce an independent estimate (separate from the SEDAR stock assessment) of the population size of Red Snapper age 2 years and older from North Carolina to Florida. Visit the website to see maps of the study area and methods being used by researchers involved in the project. There’s also a Frequently Asked Questions section to help better understand the project.

Additional Snippets:

Explore Deep-Sea Coral and Sponge Habitats through NOAA StoryMap

NOAA has released a StoryMap to illustrate deep-sea coral and sponge site characterization, including the biodiversity, habitats, populations, communities, and ecological processes of a particular area. Using diving robots, camera systems, and seafloor mapping sonar, scientists explored, studied, and compiled a summary of each site detailed in the StoryMap. NOAA’s Deep Sea Coral Research and Technology Program guides this work through extensive partnerships.

Fishing Vessel Drill Conductor Training Available – Register Now

Sea Grant is partnering with the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association and the U.S. Coast Guard to offer in-person commercial drill conductor training this spring. The hands-on training is designed to help fishermen survive emergencies at sea and includes instruction on the use of EPIRBs, MOB Recovery, firefighting, flooding control, cold-water survival skills and more. The workshops are free to commercial fishermen and available for a fee to others. Training will be held in South Carolina on April 3rd in Murrells Inlet, April 4th in McClellanville, and April 6th in Beaufort. A workshop is scheduled for April 8th in Brunswick, Georgia. Learn more and register online at: or call 907-747-3287.

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!

April 17-20, 2023

Scientific & Statistical Committee and Socio-Economic Panel Meeting

Town and Country Inn

Charleston, SC

April 25-27, 2023

Snapper Grouper Advisory Panel

Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Airport

Charleston, SC

Webinar Registration