South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

Newsworthy Notes – February 9, 2023

SAFMC Seminar Series: Anglers’ Release Practices and Attitudes Towards Descending Devices

Tuesday, February 14th, 1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. via webinar

The Council’s Seminar Series continues next Tuesday, February 14th with a presentation from The Nature Conservancy on anglers’ release practices and attitudes towards the use of descending devices. The presentation highlights research conducted in the South Atlantic region on the use and attitudes toward descending devices. “The use of descending devices is critical to protecting our popular snapper and grouper fisheries, and by extension, the biodiversity of our waters,” explains David Moss, fisheries manager for The Nature Conservancy in Florida.

Register now for the webinar and join in the discussion following the presentation. Plus you’ll receive email reminders as the date approaches. Grab a sandwich and learn over lunch!

Descending Devices, Dehookers, and Hooks Specifications – Do you know the regulations?

To encourage best fishing practices and increase the chances that released fish survive, regulations are in place for fishermen targeting snapper grouper species in federal waters. These regulations require a descending device be onboard and ready for use with a minimum weight of 16 ounces, a dehooker be onboard, and the use of non-stainless steel hooks with various specifications (e.g., non-offset circle hooks north of 28 degrees N. latitude), depending on your location.

Best Fishing Practices logo. A black fish listing practices taken to improve survivorship.

Find out more about these requirements and best practices by visiting the Council’s Best Fishing Practices webpage. Learn how to spot signs of barotrauma and when to use a descending device. Watch video clips demonstrating how to rig various devices, and an underwater video of a Red Grouper released using a descending device to see its effectiveness. Be prepared with the right gear for your next bottom fishing trip and do your part to help released fish survive!

Fish RulesAlways have the latest fishing regulations at your fingertips

Fishing regulations can be complex. Fish Rules is a convenient way to get relevant fishing regulations based on your current location. Learn more and download the free mobile app today!

Need printed copies? Fish Rules provides dynamic, on-demand custom printed regulations straight from your desktop.

Photo: FishRules

East Coast Fishery Managers to Convene Climate Change Scenario Planning Summit

Over the past two years, East Coast fishery management bodies have been collaborating on a climate change scenario planning initiative designed to prepare fishing communities and fishery managers for an era of climate change. The final stage of this initiative will include an in-person summit meeting, to be held February 15-16, 2023, in Arlington, Virginia. The summit meeting will serve as a venue to discuss input collected throughout the scenario planning process, with the goal of developing a set of potential governance and management actions and priorities.

Summit participants will include representatives from each of the three U.S. East Coast Fishery Management Councils, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and NOAA Fisheries. Members of the general public who wish to attend the meeting in person are invited to observe the plenary discussions and provide comments during designated public comment opportunities. Only plenary sessions will be broadcast by webinar.

Additional details, including webinar connection information and a draft agenda, are available on the event page.

2022 Data Summary Now Available for Citizen Science Project: SAFMC Release

The number of released fish in increasing in South Atlantic waters. While kept fish can be sampled back at the dock, it is more difficult to collect information on fish that are released on the water. Fishermen hold the key to crucial, first-hand knowledge.

The Council’s Citizen Science project “SAFMC Release” allows fishermen to provide information about their released fish. Data collected through the project include length, depth of release, optional location, observations of shark predation, and use of barotrauma reduction techniques, including descending devices. The project currently focuses on released reef fish species, including Red Snapper and all shallow-water grouper (Black, Gag, Yellowfin, Scamp, Yellowmouth, Red, Coney, Graysby, Red Hind, and Rock Hind).

Each year, the project provides a data summary to fishermen involved in the project. Check out the latest SAFMC Release Data Summary – and learn more about SAFMC Release and how you can get involved by visiting the project’s web page!

Additional Snippets:

NOAA Fisheries Seeks Nominations to Fill Vacancies on the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee

The Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) is an advisory group that researches, evaluates, and provides advice and recommendations to the Secretary of Commerce and NOAA on agency policies, activities, science, conservation, and regulatory programs critical to the mission and goals of NOAA Fisheries. 

Interested applicants should be highly qualified, diverse individuals with experience in commercial, recreational, aquaculture, and non-commercial fisheries and businesses; seafood industry, including processing, marketing, restaurants, and related industries; marine, ecosystems, or protected resources management and conservation; and human dimensions or social sciences associated with living marine resources and working waterfronts. A letter of interest and resume are due by March 13, 2023; full details on the opportunity, including instructions for submitting nominations, can be found here.

Marine Fisheries, Maritime Museum Announce History Presentations

The N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries is partnering with the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort, NC to offer a series of presentations on the history of four different fisheries in North Carolina. The presentations are part of the Division’s celebration of 200 Years of State Marine Fisheries Management and Conservation in NC. The series begins March 15th with a historic look at North Carolina’s Oyster Boom and continues with additional presentations each month with topics on the menhaden industry, shrimping, and the early history of recreational fishing. Presentations are held at the Maritime Museum and available via Zoom livestream.

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 6-10, 2023

SAFMC Meeting

Jekyll Island, GA