South Atlantic Fishery Management Council

The South Atlantic Bite

Daytona Beach dock.

Newsworthy Notes – June 3rd, 2024

June Council Meeting Begins Next Week

Members of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will meet next week to discuss a broad variety of federal fisheries management topics. The meeting will be held at the Shores Resort & Spa, 2637 South Atlantic Avenue, Daytona Beach Shores, FL 32118 and is open to the public and available via webinar as it occurs.

The Council will meet in full session beginning at 1:30 p.m. on Monday and hold meetings of the Shrimp Committee, Habitat and Ecosystem Committee and Snapper Grouper Committee throughout the week. The meeting will conclude with a second meeting of the Full council and is scheduled to end at noon on Friday, June 14th.

Meeting materials, including the week-long meeting agenda and an online public comment form, are available from the Council’s website: Committee agendas and overviews, presentations, and discussion documents are also available. Register now to attend the meeting via webinar and receive email reminders at the date approaches.

Photo: Sea Spirit Fishing

Public Comment

A public comment session will be held Wednesday, June 12, 2024 beginning at 4 p.m., allowing for both in-person and remote (via webinar) verbal public comment. Registration is required to comment via webinar. Details are available from the Council website. An online public comment form for written comments is also available, with comments posted for both Council members and the public to view via the website.

Reminder: Changes to Commercial and Recreational Fishing Seasons for Gag in the South Atlantic Region

The annual Gag grouper season in South Atlantic federal waters begins May 1st. The stock is overfished and undergoing overfishing. As required, the Council established a rebuilding plan for the stock and adjusted catch levels and management measures to end overfishing through Amendment 53 to the Snapper Grouper Fishery Management Plan. Those measures became effective October 23, 2023 and apply to both commercial and recreational fisheries. The recreational fishing season for Gag will end at 12:01 a.m. on June 15, 2024.

Both commercial and recreational sectors are allotted an annual catch limit for Gag, with the recreational sector allowed a catch limit of 133,075 pounds (gutted weight) and the commercial sector 62,922 pounds (gw) for 2024. NOAA Fisheries will close the commercial season once the catch limit is met. NOAA Fisheries recently distributed a reminder about management measures implemented through Amendment 53 to end overfishing and rebuild the stock.

The amendment also reduced the commercial trip limit for Gag and established a recreational vessel limit for Gag and Black Grouper.

For regulations on Gag and other species managed by the South Atlantic Council, visit the Council’s website at:

Gag grouper laying on a deck.

Can You Identify Shallow Water Grouper?

Distinguishing between various grouper, including Black and Gag can sometimes present a challenge. There are 10 different grouper species in the shallow water grouper management complex: Black, Gag, Yellowfin, Scamp, Yellowmouth, Red, Coney, Graysby, Rock Hind, and Red Hind.

The Council’s Citizen Science Program offers a helpful Shallow Water Grouper ID Guide as part of its SAFMC Release Project. The project allows fishermen to provide information on released shallow water grouper and Red Snapper to help fill data gaps. This includes length, depth of release, optional location, shark predation, and use of descending devices via a mobile app! Check out the link to learn more about SAFMC Release and how you can get involved in the project.

Florida Friendly Angler Course Now En Español!

With over 1/4 of Florida’s population being of Hispanic or Latino descent, and nearly 5 million people speaking Spanish at home, there is a clear need for more Spanish-translated information on angler education and natural resource stewardship. In response, Florida Sea Grant, UF/IFAS Extension, and The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), have developed the Florida Friendly Angler En Español Course!  

Florida Friendly Angler En Español is a free, self-paced online program. The program offers fully narrated lessons covering topics on best catch and release practices, environmental ethics, and fisheries management. The content includes educational videos and additional resources for those interested in diving deeper into program topics. 

Don’t live in Florida but interested in the program? Take it anyway! Much of the information taught in the course is relevant throughout the Gulf and South Atlantic.

Not a Spanish speaker? No problem!  An English version of the Florida Friendly Angler Program can be found here. Since it’s launch in 2022, thousands of anglers have already registered for the program and given it great reviews.

Register for both English and Spanish courses by visiting today!

Regional Fishery Management Councils and Climate Actions

Changing climate conditions are impacting fisheries around the world. Closer to home, the eight regional fishery management councils and NOAA Fisheries have undertaken initiatives and projects to increase the resiliency of managed fisheries to climate change here in the U.S.

The effects of climate change are affecting some regions of the country faster than others, and different ecosystems are facing unique challenges. Some councils are joining forces to better prepare for climate-related challenges. Learn more about these efforts in your region.

Additional Snippets:

Your Underwater Photos May Help Monitor Habitat Health

Think about the background in an underwater photo of a reef-dwelling creature. What do you see? The background behind that colorful fish photo you took contains information on habitat that scientists can use to supplement their surveys. Researchers in Australia set out to discover whether photos submitted by divers could be used in this manner. Read about their findings in the latest Hook, Line & Science post from NC Sea Grant.

Emergency Cut-Off Switch Requirements Could Save Your Life

Boating season is in full swing and whether you’re running up a tidal creek to try your luck flats fishing, or heading offshore, requirements for emergency cut off switches saves lives. See this article and video from the USCG on requirements and options available to all boaters.

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!

June 10-14, 2024

SAFMC June Meeting

Daytona Beach Shores, FL

Meeting information